Cheyenne Woods at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in Emirates Golf Club during an earlier edition of the tournament. The Omega Dubai Ladies Classic will now be a 54-hole event, with two of its three rounds to be played under lights at the Faldo Course in Emirates Golf Club. Image Credit: Gulf New Archives

Dubai: The Omega Dubai Ladies Classic (ODLC) will now be a 54-hole event known as the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic, thanks to two of its three rounds becoming day-night affairs played over the floodlit Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club. There will also be greater amateur and community involvement.

Gulf News already confirmed earlier this month that the ODLC would no longer be the Ladies European Tour (LET) season-ender, and would not take place this December as usual, instead switching to its new annual slot of early May, starting from 2019.

However, as well as this, we now know that it will also switch from the Majlis to the Faldo Course, and be played partly at night.

Fifty-six professionals, 35 of the leading players on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, and 21 tournament invitees from other tours or spheres of golf like social media sensations, will tee-off on Wednesday, May 1.

That night there will be a function called ‘The Draft’ where 56 teams of three amateurs will then be allocated and introduced to a professional who they will be playing with over the next two days.

There will then be two pro/am day-night rounds on Thursday and Friday, going out in reverse order on the Friday, before pro individual and pro/am team winners are crowned.

Thursday night will have a function called ‘The Industry’ where people from the local golf fraternity will be invited to network, socialise and exchange ideas during a barbecue, and on Friday night there will be an end of event ‘Big Bash’ party to conclude the tournament.

“Our partners and sponsors who are the lifeblood of our tournament kept saying they loved the ladies event, but the highlight for them was the pre-tournament pro-am and we were having trouble getting people to come to hospitality during the main event, so we came up with this,” said tournament director David Spencer.

“We believe it will be the first official golf event to have a day-night format and it’s important for us to showcase how long the golf season is in Dubai beyond just events played in December and January.

“We all want the world to see that Dubai is an awesome place to play golf in May too and playing day-night with the Dubai Marina as our backdrop is going to make for spectacular images.

“We’re unbelievably excited about this and we are really convinced that in a couple of years’ time this will be one of the hottest tickets in town to get into this pro/am, because not only is it a pro event but we are also upping the amateur involvement, which is fantastic.

“Golf always needs to be conscious to keep moving forward and not just reinvent itself and sometimes you need to take a step back and say OK, I’m going to really focus on making this great and it’s going to take a little longer,” he said in defence of the tournament missing its slot this year.

“We’ve done a lot for ladies golf over 12 editions of this tournament, but we did feel this was the time to make a change and not just change for the sake of it, but to really come up with something incredible.”

Spencer had earlier explained that switching the tournament from its December date not only prevented clashes with other events and the festive exodus, but also showcased the Dubai golfing season’s ability to stretch beyond just December and January. Being the LET’s season-ending event also wasn’t of that much benefit to Dubai, in terms of advertising or tourism.

It is understood Abu Dhabi’s LET event the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open at Saadiyat Golf Club will also skip 2018 and its usual slot of November to move to January 2019, the details and reasons of which will be announced shortly.