Women & Golf Editor Emma Ballard speaks to Justin and Kate Rose as the Rose Ladies Open tees off at Brocket Hall
The inaugural Rose Ladies Open is a 54 hole LET Access Series event being played at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. New to the LET Access schedule for 2022, with the backing of Kate and Justin Rose, the event boasts an international field and a prize fund which is the second largest this season, only bettered by the season finale at Golf de l’Isle Adam.
As the Rose Ladies Open got underway today, we spoke to Kate and Justin about seeing the event come together, how they have taken their move into women’s professional golf to the next level and why they are committed to increasing the exposure of women’s golf.
How does it feel to see the Rose Ladies Open come to fruition?
Justin: If we get involved with an event, we want to take it to a certain level, in this case make it the best LET Access Series event that these ladies have played in. This isn’t necessarily through the prize fund but through how the players are taken care of and the experience that they will have and receive.
It’s been great to be on the ground here and see the team’s hard work around the staging of the event and I feel very proud of how the event feels. It’s all the little touches that Paul and Sonia have put in place to take this event to the next level.
Last night at the Pro-Am dinner, I was blown away, impressed and humbled by the support that the competitors showed by staying for dinner. The value that these players create, the extra added attention that they give the sponsors and the goodwill from everybody. That’s what shone through yesterday and it sort of shows up the men’s game.
The Rose Ladies Series has been a fantastic success, but it's only a success due to the participation and enthusiasm of the competitors. You can put on the best events in the world but if it's not supported by the people that count and that's the players, then obviously it all falls short.
We are definitely indebted to everybody here who has made the effort to be here. It does feel like a different occasion to the one day events. There’s much more of an international feel and a much broader set of players that have come and travelled to play. It's really nice that we have that opportunity now to widen the net a little bit.
Kate: This is our first three day event, which is quite different for us. So it does feel like a step up not just in commitment and prize funds and organisationally behind the scenes but also in the level of players like Justin said.
This week we’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and that's really exciting. Obviously, the Rose Ladies Series came about through Covid, so those events had to be really quite local. This feels very different, much more of an open international event.
Unlike most of the Rose Ladies Series events, you have spectators this week at Brocket Hall. How does that feel?
Justin: We hope that opening the gates this year just adds to the atmosphere of the event for the players come Sunday afternoon, when it's all on the line and someone has a great shot over the water here on 18 at Brocket Hall that there is a nice backdrop for spectators to enjoy.
We want everybody to just enjoy the golf and we’ve made it as family-friendly as possible to encourage people to come and watch.
Kate: We’re so appreciative to Brocket Hall. They've been incredibly welcoming, are going above and beyond in every way and have been brilliant to partner with. As Justin said, we can't do this without the players but we also can't do it without the golf courses and they've made this a really pleasurable, experience for us all.
I think the course is beautiful even just from a spectator’s point of view. I’m really excited to see the 18th hole, with the little ferry across the water, on Sunday afternoon. Especially with the crowds, which we haven’t been used to being able to welcome, so that’s a big step up for us.
After so much success elevating women’s professional golf over the last three years, I can’t let you go without asking what’s next?
Kate: We have some fantastic partners who are supporting us this week. They’ve been super every step of the way since the start and have grown with us. From when we started in 2020, to increasing prize funds in 2021 on the Rose Ladies Series to now where we have increased our offering in terms of an LET Access Series event.
Justin: As I said, when we do things, we want to do it to the best of our ability and to create events that push the boundary and create a benchmark for everybody else to follow. If we choose to get involved in something it needs to be at the highest level.
I believe that the prize fund for this week is top level for an LET Access Series event. But it’s more than that, it's about showcasing the girls and telling the story around women's golf. Showing how exciting it can be and doing a good job of building the fan base, allowing golf fans and spectators to get to know the great competitors and athletes and more importantly the personalities that are here playing this week.
We do have a growth mindset with it all. Who knows where that takes us but we are enjoying the whole Rose Golf platform with everything from the Junior Academy to the Daily Telegraph championship to the Rose Ladies Series. Now, this event continues that journey for young aspiring players to move their way towards the top of the game.
Kate: It’s definitely a journey and we’ll see what comes next!
It's free to attend the Rose Ladies Open at Brocket Hall and you can reserve your tickets here.