The inaugural Jordan Mixed Open could be “a blueprint for the future of the game”, says former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane.
Lane will be one of the seniors from the Staysure Tour who will compete against Challenge Tour and Ladies’ European Tour players from 4-6 April.
The 123-player field at Ayla Golf Club will compete for a £300,000 prize fund.
“It’s something different, and for more people to engage in golf that’s what we need,” said the 1993 Ryder Cup player.
“We’ve got the Golf Sixes matchplay which is good fun, we had the Vic Open combined tournament in Australia that worked well, and now this event in Jordan.
“It’s like T20 and Test matches in cricket – a different idea. I don’t think we would want it every week – there is a place for traditional 72-hole tournaments – but we need innovation.
“It should be something that appeals to a wider audience and hopefully gets youngsters engaged.”
The Staysure Tour – formerly known as the European Senior Tour – is played by males aged 50 or over, while the Challenge Tour is the second tier of men’s professional golf in Europe.
“Sport should be inclusive, and different sexes playing against each other is only right,” Lane added.
“It could work absolutely brilliantly and will hopefully be such a good showcase for the concept that it is followed by more events around the world.”
Players will tackle the Greg Norman-designed course from different tees depending on the tour they compete on – in 2018 Challenge Tour players drove the ball almost 50 yards further on average than LET players.
The men of the Challenge Tour will face a 7,100-yard course in the 54-hole strokeplay event while the over-50s from the Staysure Tour will cover 6,601 yards and Ladies’ European Tour (LET) players 6,139 yards.
“It’s never been done before so there might be some teething problems with tees because it is tricky to work out exactly where they should be, but they’ve really worked hard on converting driving distances to the tees we play off,” says Lane.
“It’s a great chance for us old guys to play against these young stars. I just hope there is a good spread of players across the tours who make the cut for the last day.”
The 40 players from each tour will be joined by three leading amateurs, with the field cut to 60 for the final 18 holes of the three-day tournament.
Germany-based English player Olivia Cowan says the event has created interest among her peers.
“It is a really exciting concept and there is a real buzz about it among the girls on tour,” said the 22-year-old.
“Lots of the players have asked me about the course when they knew I’d been to play it. Everyone is excited to play here.”
The tournament will be held three months after England’s Meghan MacLaren, who will be one of the 40 LET players in Jordan, highlighted the £5m difference in the prize money between the men’s and ladies events in Abu Dhabi.
Solheim Cup stalwart Trish Johnson of England will compete alongside Cowan and MacLaren in Aqaba while Lane will be joined by fellow Ryder Cup player Phil Price of Wales.
Former European Tour winners Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland and Germany’s Marcel Siem will be two of the representatives from the Challenge Tour.