Regional Qualifying Feature - Fairhaven Golf Club
Prospective competitors at The Open Championship face an ‘absolute challenge of golf’ when the Regional Qualifying goes to Fairhaven on June 25, according to the club’s general manager Martin Robinson.
Designed by five-time Open Champion James Braid and JH Steer, the course was opened in 1924 and is renowned for its 122 deep bunkers.
Those hoping to qualify will have to tackle Fairhaven's many ‘risk and reward' elements that can be punishing and advantageous in equal measure.
Risk and Reward
The club's greenkeepers will maintain their usual high standards ahead of the event.
Robinson said: "It is quite a tough course, one of the longest, with links bunkers and characteristics, and the long fescue rough. It is an absolute challenge of golf for any golfer of professional or scratch standard."
"There are long holes, there are short testing holes, there is risk and reward. It's just a mixture of good holes to make as well as being very long."
"It can be low-scoring, but it gets you to think a little as well."
Fairhaven will be hosting Regional Qualifying for the third year in succession ahead of The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie in July.
And when The Open has been played at Royal Lytham & St Annes, Fairhaven has occasionally hosted Final Qualifying.
Mr Robinson said: "We are proud as a club to have such a good relationship with the R&A."
Dramatic finishes in store
Excitement to welcome some of the country's most talented golfers is high among members, who turn out in good numbers to watch every time the Regional Qualifying comes to England's north-west coast.
Mr Robinson is expecting around 300 spectators to line the fairways and will call on volunteers to assist with proceedings.
The course opens with two par fives in the opening three holes and closes with two in the final four holes, giving big-hitters the chance for a fast start and the prospect of a grandstand finish.
Robinson said: "We find that the scores are quite evenly matched and then it all happens right at the end which is quite a nice thing for spectators watching.
"It tends to be quite an exciting event when they come to Fairhaven.
"The club provides about 60 volunteers for the event, who are very easy to find because our members embrace the fact that we're holding high profile events such as this.
"It's nice to see the members support the club's decision to host these kinds of things."
The next generation
The club proudly acknowledges its connection to golf's oldest Championship, displaying a scorecard of Davis Love III who once qualified there, but rather than looking back on former glories, Robinson is keen to highlight the influence a Regional Qualifying event can have on junior members.
He said: "We tend to get a huge number of juniors, parents and families visiting the event.
"I think it's an inspiration to see players of such calibre coming to their home club and just watching how they play and their manner around the golf course.
"I think they'll learn a lot from coming to an event such as this and take away tips for their game and be proud that the club they are a member of is hosting such a prestigious event."