Golf history will be made when players hit the first hole at this year’s Australian Open with the men’s and women’s events being played at the same time and place.

These will be the first recognized National Opens to feature women’s and men’s tournaments side-by-side, with an equal share of the $3.4 million minimum prize pool offered to champs comprising 144 men and 144 women.

Victoria Golf Club will be the main host site for the four days of the tournament, December 1-4, with Kingston Heath Golf Club hosting the first two days.

Five-time Australian Open women’s winner Karrie Webb, who will come out of semi-retirement to chase another title, says the two tournaments lining up is a big step forward in the pursuit of equality gender in golf.

“I love this concept, the game cooperates and breaks down barriers and it has to happen,” she said.

“It’s just great for me to see women on the same stage with the same poster, as it should be. We’ve seen it with other events, the public loves it and they want it like that.

Webb was the last local woman to win the Open in 2014 in Victoria, but she also found success in Kingston with a win there in 2008.

“At this stage I plan to dust off the clubs – I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to play at either course,” Webb said on Friday. “I played two Australian Opens, one at Vic and one at Kingston Heath, and I did pretty well at both, I would really love to play.

“I played a tournament in Florida in January and plan to play a few this summer in the US, so my form won’t be too far off. Melbourne’s golf courses are a challenge at the best of times, so we’ll see how it goes.

Golfer Karrie Webb chats with Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

The men’s event will headline the PGA Tour of Australasia, while the women’s event will be sanctioned by the WPGA Tour of Australasia. The men’s event will also be sanctioned on the DP World Tour.

Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said the new format was an important strategic move and the dual tournaments were a “hit” for Australian golf.

“We strongly believe in this concept,” he said. “We’ve seen it at the Australian Open for years, and it makes sense that fans can see their idols, whether male or female, in one place.

“This decision is part of our new national strategy and our ambitions to attract new audiences. In line with our belief that golf is a sport for everyone, strategy requires that we present our tournaments as inclusive and fun events.

The Men’s Open will be the first to be played in Melbourne since 2002 and the first major tournament in the Victorian capital since the 2019 President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne, following two years in which Covid-19 impacted scheduled events .

The women’s event returns to Melbourne after five successful years in Adelaide.

Victoria has also been confirmed to host the 2028 and 2040 Presidents Cups.