World Golf Stars Champion Jordan Mixed Open Presented by Ayla

02 April 2019

The Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, the pioneering event that will see women and men compete on an equal footing for the first time, has garnered global support for its visionary concept

Aqaba, Jordan, Friday 29th March: Stars from across the world of golf have given their backing to the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, the first-of-its-kind event that will see women and men compete alongside each other for a single prize fund.

Former European Ryder Cup player, Phillip Price, two-time Major champion, Greg Norman, and Scottish professional, Carly Booth, are among several high-profile players who have been vocal in their support for the pioneering event, which will get underway at Ayla Golf Club, in Jordan, on Thursday 4th April.

Booth, a multiple winner on the Ladies European Tour, commented: “I am delighted to be taking part in this unique event in Jordan. I’ve always believed that we are all equal and creating environments where that can be celebrated can only be a good thing for our sport and also for our communities. It’s a great concept and I can’t wait to get going.”

The tournament, which will see competitors from the Challenge Tour, Staysure Tour and Ladies European Tour join forces, marks the first time in history that male and female golf professionals will compete alongside each other in a full field event over the same course for a single trophy.

It’s a concept that has garnered worldwide attention, with Ayla’s golf course designer and legend of the game, Greg Norman, quick to lend his support to the innovative format.

"Any initiative that sets to break down the barriers that prevent people from taking up the sport and that looks to change the narrative regarding women and girls in sport must be encouraged. To construct a format in which women and men compete together over the same course is an impressive feat and there is no doubt that events that showcase golfing talent regardless of gender, such as the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, are the future of the game,’’ Greg Norman said.

The Australian, who spent over three-hundred weeks as the World No. 1 in the 1980s and 1990s and has since earned significant acclaim for his business and golf course design ventures, has been a vocal supporter of gender equality in the game and it is consequently fitting that the pioneering tournament should be staged at a Greg Norman-designed layout.

Ladies European Tour winner Meghan MacLaren, who created headlines last month when she highlighted golf’s gender pay disparity, former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane and Senior LPGA Champion Trish Johnson are among several other notable players who will tee it up at the spectacular Red Sea venue for the co-sanctioned event.

Three-time European Tour winner and member of the victorious 2002 Ryder Cup squad, Phillip Price, is also in the field for the strokeplay tournament, which will see 40 players from each co-sanctioning tour and a leading amateur from the men’s, ladies’ and over-50s’ games compete over three days on Ayla’s championship course.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity, not only to compete with the female players, but also to test my game against the up-and-coming players on the Challenge Tour,” the Welshman commented. “Playing golf in Jordan and competing against the Ladies European Tour professionals are both new and exciting experiences and it’s going to be really interesting to see how the format works in practice.”

The layout has been specifically set-up to ensure competitors from each circuit can compete over an equal playing field, with bunkering and hazards, alongside tee placement, taken into consideration (for further information on the event format, please see Notes for Editors, below).

In addition to staging the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla and hosting several legs on the MENA Tour’s ‘Journey to Jordan’, Ayla has earned considerable plaudits for its sustainable design, which Greg Norman described upon the venue’s opening as ‘among the top-three most eco-friendly golf courses in the world, if not the first.’


About the format of play
Staged over the Greg Norman-designed championship course at Ayla Golf Club, the tournament has been set-up to ensure that, despite the average Challenge Tour player driving 284-yards in 2018, almost 50-yards further than their Ladies European Tour counterparts, all three co-sanctioning tours will compete over a level playing field.

“Our first and primary priority was to engineer a format that could showcase golfing talent regardless of gender,” said Chris White, Director of Operations at Ayla Oasis and the driving force behind the tournament concept. “This not only means taking into consideration carry yardages, both off the tee and throughout the player’s whole bag, but also the positioning of bunkers and hazards, which will be approached differently depending on the angle and distance that each competitor is playing from.”

Masterminded by the team at Ayla, with the approval of representatives of the three tours who travelled to Jordan to ratify the format, the course set-up will see the Challenge Tour players tee-up from 7,152-yards, with the Staysure Tour players competing from a scorecard reduced by 7 per cent, at 6,601-yards.
There will then be a further 7 per cent reduction for the Ladies European Tour players, who will compete from a scorecard measured at 6,139-yards, which, as is the case for all three tours, is comparable to the length the competitors would play from under standard tournament conditions.

“The beauty of golf is that everyone can compete alongside each other. In the amateur game through the handicap system, but with the correct set-up we believe that this can also be true when it comes to men, women and seniors in the professional arena. With the course set-up as it is, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be one player from each of the three tours coming down the closing stretch with a chance of victory.’’ Chris White commented.

The spin rates of approach shots have also been analysed and will be considered when preparing daily hole locations, while wind and other weather considerations will also be factored in each day before play commences.

Davide Lantos, the Ladies European Tour Director of Tournament Operations commented: “Golf needs more innovative concepts to continue to grow the sport globally and this is a truly exciting new format. The Tournament Directors have gone through a rigorous process to ensure that the set-up is a fair test for all the players, including the positioning of different tees at Ayla Golf Club. It will be a thrilling spectacle to watch the best players from three Tours compete in Jordan.”

About Ayla
Ayla, a dream conceived, the destination sculpted out of the coast of Aqaba and dedicated to inspiring lives by delivering a blend of art, music, sports, well-being, recreation and entertainment activities.

Inspiring lives by Reinventing Seaside Living. Redesigning landscapes, reinvigorating communities, reenergizing lifestyles, AYLA is driven by passion, dreams and life. Passionately sculpted out of the coast of Aqaba and the Red Sea, Ayla is where design and art intertwine with nature providing 17km of waterside living in a vibrant community.

Ayla’s design and architecture are inspired by Aqaba’s natural beauty fused with a modern and eclectic style that delivers a relaxed and comforting environment. Living in Ayla is not just about owning a home in a secure community but also about being part of an extended family, the Ayla family.

Ayla is built around turquoise man-made lagoons surrounded by luxury and boutique hotels, white-sand beach clubs, a world-class marina, Jordan’s first 18-hole signature golf course, as well as exclusive contemporary residential and retail developments.

The private community is comprised of five districts: Marina, Lagoons, Creek, Golf Hills, and Avenue. The contemporary accommodation in each of the districts is designed to give residents and visitors breath-taking panoramic views of the waterfront, green landscapes, and mountains.

Offering a myriad of retail, dining, and entertainment venues, Ayla’s colourful and dynamic community intends to be home to key seasonal events covering art, music, sports, recreation and entertainment activities throughout the year for residents and visitors to enjoy and experience.


Scott Peddie - Head of PR & Communications
Ayla Golf Club c/o Performance54