Editor Emma Ballard spoke to The Ladies Golf Tour founders Caia Slater and Jenny Swift last week to hear about their new joint business venture which is set to elevate women’s golf events in the UK.
Last September, a chance meeting at a corporate golf day turned into a business opportunity for Caia Slater and Jenny Swift. Whilst getting to know each other during their round it became clear they had both had similar experiences at golf events – often less than satisfactory.
Inspired by Caia’s obvious enthusiasm for creating more of a presence for women’s golf and Jenny’s own experience in running many golf days, Jenny explained there may be an opportunity to run women’s specific golf events and they should have a follow-up chat a couple of weeks later.
Jenny had attended a Yonex Ladies Pairs event earlier that year and had been really disappointed in the whole experience. Although these pairs events had been run since 2016, the company running them had changed over the last couple of years and they were not able to connect with women like founder Alex Nicholson of Yonex had been able to.
“The team who had been most recently running the Tour felt they weren't meeting the expectations of women golfers as well as they might. Upon reflection, they could see these events would benefit from having someone who better understood what women expected from golf events and could make it happen. Asked if I would be interested to take on the challenge, I gave this fantastic opportunity a great deal of thought.
“However, having recently met Caia, who was enthusiastic and passionate about breaking into the golf industry, with much of her career still ahead of her, I felt it would be an ideal solution for Caia to take the lead. The better role for me would be to draw upon my experience and support the “new look” Tour with practical help and guidance. Working together our focus is on re-energising and invigorating the event experience in the way Yonex envisioned and in the way Caia and I feel will best meet the requirements of women golfers today and into the future”
The Ladies Golf Tour - Yonex Series
The Ladies Golf Tour – Yonex Series was formally launched just before Christmas. The whole process from creating a website to putting together a 2023 calendar of events happened really quickly.
Although the process had been quick, Caia and Jenny were very careful about which venues they chose because they wanted to create something that was really special.
Each event features two high quality golf courses with accommodation on site or close by so that once players are there they can relax and use the hotel amenities if they wish. For Caia and Jenny, it was important to have time for socialising as well as golf.
For the competition side, they want their events to have an almost tournament feel, in terms of the format and prizegiving. With fantastic sponsorship from Yonex, they are able offer high value and quality first, second and third prizes.
They also carefully considered the format with an emphasis on enjoyment and decided to go with four-ball better ball in pairs. Also, the second day, wherever possible will feature a dual-tee or shotgun start, so the field comes in together to enjoy food and prize giving as a culmination of the event.
Coming together at the end of the two days is very important to Caia:
“It is important to have a proper conclusion of what's hopefully been a very enjoyable event. In my experience, rounding off the event and celebrating the winners and stand out moments, is the perfect way to conclude day two.”
The Ladies Golf Tour – Yonex Series events
The Ox and Bucks Belter (Badgemore Park GC & Harleyford GC) – April 19-20, 2023
The Belton Blast (Belton Woods Hotel, Spa & Golf Club) – May 15-16, 2023
The Cheshire Chase (Carden Park Golf Resort) – June 12-13, 2023
The Belfry Better Ball (The Belfry Hotel & Resort) – July 19-20, 2023
The Festival in the Forest (The Forest of Arden Golf & Country Club) – July 31-August 1, 2023
The Mellion Masters (St Mellion Estate) – August 22-23, 2023
Not content with hosting these fantastic two days events, the pair were also keen to make sure that the season of events had an ending. Jenny explains:
“We needed a grand finale to bring it together. The first three pairs in each event will be invited to the grand final at Frilford Heath. It'll be a one day event with lots of pzazz. Bringing the season to a close.
“Our hope is that if it works this year and goes well, we can extend the Tour to make it bigger and do more events. I think it's very exciting.”
With further sponsorship support from TaylorMade Golf and Surprizeshop, and collaboration with other women passionate about creating opportunities for women to play more golf, like Yvonne Brooke founder of the Ladies Golf Lounge, the Ladies Golf Tour is going from strength to strength as they head towards their first event in April.
Original founder Alex Nicholson from Yonex UK Limited is sure that this new series of events will deliver a high quality experience for all competitors:
“When the Ladies Golf Tour team, Caia and Jenny, took over responsibility for the Yonex Series events from November 2022, it was clear from the start they would be ideal new brand ambassadors for Yonex.
“For me personally, their three stand out qualities are they have extensive golf event experience and bring a welcome, fresh approach to events, their “first class experience” mantra really resonated with me. Secondly, they are both avid and experienced golfers who have played golf courses across the UK and overseas, so are able to handpick the venues they know you will love, and thirdly, their commitment and passion for growing the women’s game, by combining the right level of competition and fun for all event participants”
After meeting Caia and Jenny is it absolutely impossible not to admire their drive, hard work and determination to make these events a success.
About Caia and Jenny
Co-founders of The Ladies Golf Tour, Caia Slater and Jenny Swift are keen golfers who are committed to growing the enjoyment, fun and competitive elements of the women’s game. Naturally organised with a focus on supporting people throughout her career in HR, Caia is delighted to have the opportunity to work with and learn from Jenny, who brings her impressive business acumen but also her experience of creating, hosting and managing golf events across the UK and overseas. Jenny is an active member of Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire and Caia is a member at Bowood in Wiltshire.
Find out more about The Ladies Golf Tour here. Also, if you would like to be in with a chance to win a place (for a pair) at the first event of the season “The Ox & Bucks Belter”, you can enter via the Ladies Golf Lounge Facebook page here. A winner will be drawn on February 25, 2023.