The AIG Women’s Open was first established in 1976 and is one of five major championships in women’s golf. For the very first time, live music featured at the AIG Women’s Open as part of a new, enhanced experience that has been attracting new and diverse audiences to the Championship.
Every year a different group of 144 players from all over the world compete at the AIG Women’s Open, with US golfer Lilia Vu claiming a six-shot victory and the 2023 championship trophy, ahead of the UKs Charley Hull. This year the venue was Walton Heath, in Surrey, and the grounds were opened up for a day of fun and entertainment.
Even if you were not a golf fanatic, there was something at Walton Heath for you whether it might be the delicious range of food items, the various forms of mini golf options, and even a shuffleboard. There were some little shops – including Adidas. Regardless of whether golf was your speciality or not, you could not fail to be amazed at the large grounds, as well as the live anticipation of the ladies succeeding (and not) with every hit of a golf club. I was fortunate to be invited as part of a press group, and part of our trip included a backstage tour of the clubhouse, which featured an extensive gym, food dishes for all needs. and a golf kit signed by every player!
Along with the live music performances, fans were able to experience a new-look festival village that included:
• Festival village stage featuring panel discussions with leading names from sport, business and entertainment including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Zoe Aldcroft, Alice Dearing, Christine Ohuruogo MBE, Young Athena, Jenny Drummond and DI Stewart
• Golf It! Zone featuring fun golf activities to introduce fans to the sport
• Interactive golf experiences including VR and e-sports
• Big screens to watch golf and other leading women’s sport including the FIFA Women’s World Cup
• A new food and beverage offering, featuring a collective of exciting, passionate and diverse street food traders.
Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A said:
“We and our valued partners in AIG have been clear that our ambition is to elevate the AIG Women’s Open as a world-class sporting event. We have made important strides in recent years to enhance prize money, Championship venues and facilities for the benefit of the world’s best women’s golfers, but we also see the spectator experience as crucial to increasing the appeal of the Championship and encouraging more fans to attend.”
As the games came to an end, the evenings entertainment came in the form of Pixxy, who gave an energetic & lively performance & of course the headline act, Ms. Ellie Goulding.
Speaking ahead of her performance Ellie Goulding said:
“I’m honoured to be the first music artist to perform at the AIG Women’s Open. The elevation of women’s sport is something I’m a huge champion of, so I can’t wait to be surrounded by inspiring women.”
Ellie is currently on the heels of her recent #1 album ‘Higher Than Heaven’, and treated audiences to a range of album tracks from afore-mentioned album (including the spectacular ‘Love Goes On’), to recent chart topping single, ‘Miracle’, and even a throwback to her breakout single, ‘Starry Eyed.’ Ellie admitted during the show that she was not much of a talker however she was full of energy throughout the show, and she showed that she really knows how to capture an audience, with a broad range of album tracks, and popular hits. It was particularly touching hearing her give ‘Bleach’ (from her 2020 album ‘Brightest Blue’) an outing to an audience waiting in desperation for ‘Love Me Like You Do.’
It was a real high to end the event with Ellie. and the whole day seemed very perfectly aligned.
All photos credit Daniel Sado