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Walton Heath 2023

Buhai's message to golf newbies


'Just rock up and enjoy the experience'

Ashleigh Buhai at the AIG Women

Ashleigh Buhai is confident that any newcomers who attend the AIG Women’s Open will end up being hooked on golf.

The most international of major championships takes place in Walton Heath, Surrey, from 9-13 August, with 144 of the world’s best golfers battling it out for the coveted trophy.

This elite-level competition will be accompanied by a thriving festival fan village and an Ellie Goulding concert on Saturday 12 August.

It’s the first time live music will be part of the AIG Women’s Open, and reigning Champion Buhai is relishing the atmosphere it will generate.

She said: “I think as a traditionalist in golf, we are all like, ok, this is a little strange and something new.

“But then we all thought about it and we are like, this is actually fantastic.

“It brings a new breed of people into the game, and that's what we want. We want to influence as many people as we can to this great game.

“So if getting them a concert ticket and getting them to come and watch some golf, too, and then hopefully a few weeks later they pick up a golf club... and then for those who love the game, then why not have a bit of entertainment, too?”

The South African won last year’s AIG Women’s Open, her first major title, after defeating In Gee Chun in a memorable four-hole play-off at Muirfield.

Buhai has been in fine fettle this season, too, winning the Australian Open in December before claiming the South African Open in March – when she posted an impressive score of 22-under-par – for her fifth victory on the Ladies European Tour.

Every golfer aims to bring their ‘A’ game to a major championship – there are five women’s majors throughout the year – and Buhai’s form, and her desire to retain a very special prize, could mean another four days of thrilling, world-class golf; and a weekend not to be missed.

Ashleigh Buhai poses with the AIG Women's Open trophy

Buhai said: “We have always had really good fans at these Championships and I always say it's some of the best fans because they just love golf.

“They are educated about the game, they are there for the game of golf, but now we are hopefully also going to reach a broader spectrum of fans. I think it's going to be really exciting.

“I think often people are scared to come to a Championship because they don't know anything about the game of golf or the rules.

“But just rock up, enjoy the experience. Take it all in. Just look at everybody around you and kind of follow their lead – if that's what you are worried about – and then hopefully you'll get hooked on this great game.”

Buhai added: “I think that The R&A and AIG have come up with a fantastic idea, and also being just outside of London, I think it's going to be really great.”

Tickets for the AIG Women’s Open are on sale here.

Adult tickets are available from £20, with Saturday tickets including a full day of golf action and entry to the Ellie Goulding concert priced at £55.

A number of offers are also available, including a £10 discount when booking a weekend bundle and a saving of £40 when booking the new five-day ticket offering. Mastercard holders are also eligible to receive £5 off their transaction when booking with a valid Mastercard on checkout.

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