Catriona Matthew, the 2009 Ricoh Women’s British Open Champion, officially opened the new Golf Centre at Carnoustie on 12 April. The Scot, who is a golf ambassador for Carnoustie Country, was making a return visit to Angus after last year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Carnoustie, where she finished tied 5th behind World No. 1, Yani Tseng.
“It’s a big honour to be asked to open the new Golf Centre and to be back here in Carnoustie where all the top players had such a great time at last summer’s Women’s Open, where the Championship course lived up to the expectations of everyone in the field,” she said.
“Carnoustie is a great addition to the women’s championship circuit. Last year’s professional open and this summer’s amateur championship draw leisure golfers as well as competitors to this area. That’s great news for the women’s game and the development of the sport at a grass roots level, as more people discover the fantastic golfing opportunities and facilities we have here.”
The new £2 million Golf Centre opened in time for last summer’s Ricoh Women’s British Open and subsequently has proved popular with visitors and local golfers alike.
The 1,000 square metre building, situated next to the first tee on the Championship course, houses locker rooms, toilet facilities and a golf professional’s shop and is soon to feature a special exhibition to commemorate the seven Open Championships played at Carnoustie in 1931, 1937, 1953, 1968, 1975, 1999 and 2007.
“We are delighted that Catriona has come here today to officially open our new Golf Centre,” said Carnoustie Golf Links Chairman, Gordon Wilson. “It has been a great addition to the facilities at Carnoustie and brings us in line with the very best in the UK.”
“It’s still a work in progress,” he added. “We have just taken delivery of a replica Open trophy and it will be the centrepiece of an exhibition which will highlight the seven Open Championships and the other leading championships staged over our Championship course.”
The Championship course has enjoyed a series of firsts since Ireland’s Padraig Harrington defeated Spain’s Sergio Garcia in a play-off for the 2007 Open Championship. In 2010 the popular German, Bernhard Langer, won the first Senior British Open to be staged over the course and then 12 months later Tseng emerged victorious when it hosted its first Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship.
This summer, the Championship course will be in the headlines again when it hosts the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship from 26-30 June.
Following the official opening of the new centre Catriona Matthew joined over 60 women golfers from 27 local golf clubs who were at Carnoustie on Thursday afternoon for a Ladies 4-ball Stableford competition.
The competition was staged by Angus Council in partnership with Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee as an example of the type of event that could attract visiting women golfers, and is part of the continuing work to encourage local golf club members to get together to develop golf packages to attract golfers to Carnoustie Country.
A recent survey undertaken by Angus Council on behalf of the Carnoustie Country Golf Industry Group identified young golfers and women as key target markets, to boost local club membership and attract visiting golfers.
Carnoustie Golf Links www.carnoustiegolflinks.co.uk