THE world’s top female golfers will not be cheered on by spectators at The Renaissance Club next month.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open takes place at the course, near Archerfield, from August 13 to 16, but with no spectators.

Instead, the competition is being filmed for television following close consultation and collaboration between a number of organisations.

The decision to move forward with the tournament has been taken with organisers and stakeholders confident they can deliver an event with all relevant safeguarding and protocols in place.

According to the organisers the Ladies European Tour, the tournament has “a robust operational plan, which has been established with medical and health and safety specialists to make sure that all appropriate measures are in place that meet the high standards required by the Scottish Government, as well as adhering to all WHO guidelines”.

Catriona Matthew, a two-time winner of the event, was pleased to see the event going ahead.

The North Berwick resident, an ambassador for sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “We are all happy to hear that women’s golf will be getting back under way in Scotland and especially grateful to Aberdeen Standard Investments and VisitScotland for working so hard to make this happen and putting all the necessary Covid-19 related practices in place and for being so supportive of the women’s tours.”

The men’s event, also being played at The Renaissance Club,was rescheduled earlier this year and will now take place from October 8 to 11.

Matthew, the 2009 Open winner, who guided Europe to victory in last year’s Solheim Cup, added: “With men’s professional golf back playing, it is important that we are able to follow suit, so this is really excellent news for the women’s game and I am delighted to be preparing for my national open in just over a month’s time.”

Last year’s tournament was won by Mi Jung Hur.

The South Korean star won by four shots from nearest rivals Jeongeun Lee and Moriya Jutanugarn at a rain-soaked course.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council spokesman for economic development and tourism, was pleased the tournament would go ahead.

He said: “I welcome the fact that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open will go ahead at the Renaissance Club as it will showcase East Lothian’s wonderful golf offering to a global television audience.

“The decision not to allow spectators on to the course is the correct one as we come out of lockdown.

“Public safety must remain top priority.

“It will of course be a blow to local accommodation providers and businesses, however the council has launched a range of support measures for business, including our Stay Safe, Support Local, Love East Lothian campaign to encourage our residents to use their local businesses as much as possible – and we are working with industry partners including VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise to support our tourism-related businesses to survive and thrive when we come out the other side of this pandemic.”

North Berwick Coastal ward member Councillor Jeremy Findlay was hopeful the event would boost tourism in the long run, despite the lack of spectators at this year’s tournament.

Mr Findlay, who lives in nearby Gullane, said: “I think to have it behind closed doors is obviously disappointing but in today’s new normal that just has to be accepted.

“Hopefully, next year or whenever the event comes back we will be able to get audiences.

“In the longer run, the publicity will help to promote East Lothian’s golf courses and its scenery.

“In the short term it is not that great but hopefully in the longer term it will promote East Lothian.”