Rose Ladies Series defends decision to hold most events in south

By Ben CroucherBBC Sport
England's Meghan MacLaren after hitting the ball
England's Meghan MacLaren won the second Rose Ladies Series event in Hertfordshire

The Rose Ladies Series has defended its decision to hold most of its tournaments in the south, after some northern golfers felt they could not take part in the first three events.

With hotels closed, many faced an eight-hour round trip to participate.

The most northerly of the eight events is in Uttoxeter on 16 July.

"We wanted to provide as much playing opportunity for the Ladies as quickly as possible," a spokeswoman for the Rose Ladies Series told BBC Sport.

Former world number one golfer Justin Rose and his wife Kate sponsor the series and the third events starts on Thursday at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club.

"Ourselves as event organisers, and Kate and Justin Rose, are all based in the south and we too needed to be able to reasonably reach a one-day tournament without the use of hotels to run the events," the tournament added.

"We are hopeful that the news of hotels opening will enable entrants hereon in to join the Series from further afield."

With the Ladies European Tour not resuming until August, the Rose Ladies Series represents the main opportunity for female golfers to play competitive, women-only events in England.

Many have turned to mixed mini-tours like the Clutch Tour, and 2020 Pro Tour based in Yorkshire.

LET Access Series professional Brogan Townend said: "With the Rose Series being based in the south and hotels being closed, I've picked this tour.

"I might play a Rose Series when the hotels open and hopefully be sharp enough when the Access Series gets up and running.

Fellow professional Charlotte Austwick added: "It's just too far at the moment. It's a four-hour drive."

Manchester-based Sophie Powell set up a bed in the back of a friend's van in order to take part in the opening two competitions in Hampshire and Hertfordshire.

"It was either sleep in the back of my Citroen DS3, which wouldn't be very spacious, or the pavement," she told BBC World Service. "There was literally nowhere to stay.

"I've been out for two years. My first event was just as lockdown happened in Abu Dhabi but that was cancelled in our practice round.

"Now it's on, I don't know when my next game is going to be so I need to take the opportunity to play as much as I can and get some status back."

The Rose Ladies Series said the short timeframe they had to put the schedule together, combined with the uncertainty in easing lockdown restrictions, led to the majority of tournaments being held in the south.

"We were approached by golf courses within a similar geographical region and all event locations were finalised prior to the announcement of hotels imminently opening in England," a statement continued.

"Should we have the opportunity to host future events in 2021 and beyond we would be delighted to explore hosting at venues all across the UK."