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Open Championship brings focus to Southern links courses
February 25, 2011

The hosting of The Open Championship at Royal St George's on the Kent coast in July will highlight the abundance of premier links courses that can be found elsewhere in the south of England over the next six months.

With The Open Championship so often staged in Scotland - it returns to St Andrews every five years for example - and North West England, some of southern England's oldest and most beguiling links rarely fall under the golfing spotlight during the only major championship staged in this country.

England's Atlantic Links in the south west of England is however hoping to benefit from Open attention and attract more visitors this summer as golf fans extend their trip to Royal St George's with some links golf of their own.

Visitors will not be disappointed if they make their way to England's Atlantic Links which comprises the five premier links golf courses in the region; Burnham & Berrow in Somerset, Royal North Devon and Saunton (pictured below) in Devon, and St Enodoc and Trevose in Cornwall.

This tantalizing trail of ancient links golf, set amid the wild and unadulterated landscape of north Atlantic coastline, offers some of the most challenging and exciting links golf in the country.

Nick Faldo, arguably England's greatest golfer, once said of the Saunton links, "I've no doubt that if the East Course were located on the coast of Lancashire or Kent it would have hosted an Open Championship by now". Praise indeed from Faldo who has been a fan of Saunton since playing there as a boy. No wonder then that Saunton's East Course was awarded 21st spot in Golf World's "Top 100 Golf Courses in the UK" in 2010.

The other four clubs also have great pedigree and three have also hosted a number of top amateur championships over the years.

The 2009 Tillman Trophy was staged at Burnham & Berrow whilst later this year will host the R&A Boys Championship and The Brabazon Trophy - for the fifth time - and in doing so enter golfing history in 2011 by becoming the first course to hold both championships in the same year.

Trevose staged the 2008 Brabazon Trophy, the English Men's Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship , whilst St Enodoc's Church Course hosted the 2002 English Ladies Amateur Championship 2002 and the 2005 English Counties Championship.

Royal North Devon meanwhile is England's oldest links course and a must for anyone interested in the history of golf. The course, still on its original site, is like taking a step back in time to see how golf was played a hundred years ago whilst the memorabilia and history found in the clubhouse is rivalled only by that found in the Royal & Ancient clubhouse in St Andrews.

Together these legendary, award-winning championship courses have firmly established themselves as one of the most prestigious links destinations in the UK.

"The staging of The Open Championship in southern England for the first time since 2003 is a great opportunity for England's Atlantic Links to grab a share of the attention of the golf world in 2011," comments Mark Evans, Secretary of Royal North Devon. 

"Like Royal St George's, our courses offer golfers the chance to experience traditional, championship links golf at its best. What's more, our green fees average out at around £70 per round which is excellent value in light of the quality of the courses." 

In addition, England's Atlantic Links' courses boast the combined appeal of history, tradition and variety which is complemented by numerous off-course activities along the Atlantic coastline.

England's South West is simply bursting with attractions including pretty coastal towns like  Ilfracombe in North Devon, bustling market towns such as Wadebridge and Barnstaple and charming fishing villages like Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow along the north Cornish coast whilst historic towns like Weston-super-Mare and Bath, near Burnham & Berrow in Somerset, are ideal destinations to round off a golfing adventure.

The region's rich culture features the inimitable Barbara Hepworth Museum and Tate St Ives, displaying the very best in modern and local art, the renown Eden Project and fascinating Lost Gardens of Heligan whilst outdoor activities such as surfing around Newquay and walking and horse riding in Exmoor National Park are as good as anywhere in the British Isles.

The gastronomic delights of the South West are not to be missed either, from the exceptional Padstow seafood restaurants of famous local chef Rick Stein and a variety of other Michelin-starred restaurants, to real English ale and authentic pub grub in an abundance of traditional country pubs.

The temperate micro climate allows year-round golf with the gentler winter conditions enabling the greenkeepers to maintain their courses in immaculate condition throughout the changing seasons.

Meanwhile the overall standard of accommodation in the South West has risen dramatically in recent years and there are now a host of comfortable, character hotels like Woodlands Country House Hotel, beautifully restored stately homes such as the Bath Spa Hotel, modern seaside hotels such as Saunton Sands and the St Moritz Hotel & Spa and delightful, friendly bed-and-breakfasts.

In terms of travel, the nearby M5 motorway and A39 "Atlantic Highway", and international airports at Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter and Newquay, ensure easy accessibility for all visitors.

For further information on England's Atlantic Links, visit www.atlantic-links.co.uk .







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