We speak to Jason MacNiven, the pro at Brokenhurst Manor who helped spark the phenomenon of Justin and Kate Rose’s English tour.
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This summer has been an amazing time for British women’s golf, thanks partly to the phenomenon that was the Rose Ladies Series.
Backed by Kate and Justin Rose and sponsored by American Golf and Computacenter UK and Ireland, the tour generated a huge buzz around the ladies’ game and provided English players with a much-needed chance to compete while the Ladies European Tour was paused due to COVID-19.
It all started when Jason MacNiven, the owner of Brokenhurst Manor pro shop Golf Principles, and LET player Liz Young came up with the idea of hosting a ladies’ event at the Hampshire club and expanding it into a tour.
Then The Telegraph did an exclusive on it, it caught the Rose’s attention and the rest is history.
Jason tells me how it feels to be involved with something so huge and why he wants it to become an annual event.
“Liz and I first started talking about hosting a women’s event in the third week of March when lockdown started. We knew that the girls wouldn’t have anything to play on for a while and we wanted to do something to help them.
Originally, our idea was that it would be an English tour that acted as a platform for amateurs who are working towards the LET, so they can play proper courses and really see where their game is and compare it to the bigger players like Charley Hull and they would also bring the media coverage too.
Brokenhurst would have Liz Young as the featured pro and face of it and then we thought Meghan MacLaren would be the face of the Northampton one and then it would move around the country to the home clubs of different pros.
It didn’t really happen like that and it ended up being Southern based, but what it did turn into was of course amazing.
We envisaged that every player would pay £125 to enter, and if we didn’t get enough, my wife and I were going to top the prize money up to £1,500. Obviously, we didn’t need to do that in the end.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan was great in supporting our first event as well. I messaged him and asked if he wouldn’t mind retweeting us and he did and then Brittany Lincicome did and a couple of other players did too. It was amazing how the momentum grew.
For amateurs and players who are just starting out like Georgina Blackburn there aren’t many opportunities to play. We wanted our tour to work with the LET to make sure these girls are ready and as good as they can be before they join the tour.
The Let Access is an option but with all the travelling its expensive, also even next year travelling might not be an option. I think for the women’s game to grow we need to work on getting the quality of the golf even better than it already is, it’s not about social media platforms and things like that.
Excel Sports did a great job with it and Liz was a great face of the Tour. They needed someone like that to take it forward; a player who has done it all and has experience. It was because of her that the girls signing up had faith in what it was about from the start. It was so much better than having a faceless organiser.
I would hate to see it just be a ‘one and done’ kind of thing. I want to see it continue and be an annual fixture. We never intended it to be a one off when we first planned it.
If it continued, I couldn’t run it myself as I just don’t have the time and I run two businesses. Perhaps it needs a retired player, or somehow who has really been there and done it all to take up the reins.
But I would love for Brokenhurst to host one again and this time I’d bring the Essex girls and other junior teams just to come and watch and experience it. I know that loads of other courses are interested in the Rose Series and hosting it as well.
It would be such a shame if it didn’t happen again.”