Merseyside’s reputation as England’s ‘golfing capital’, the home of Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale, will be further enhanced when the Merseyside Festival of Golf, a £1.2 million scheme, is launched. The scheme, initially for four years, will be capable of drawing big name professionals and big spending sporting crowds.
The week long festival will become home of the new English Seniors PGA European Tour event taking advantage of some of the region’s championship courses.
Lord Fearn, Sefton’s cabinet member for economic development and tourism, said: “The Merseyside Festival of Golf stretching from Wirral to Southport will become one of the most prestigious sporting events in England and Wales and attract world wide acclaim.”
“This is a perfect opportunity for Wirral to work with Sefton to capitalise on the growing golf market, which is already well established on Merseyside,” said Steve Foulkes, leader of Wirral Council. “We look forward to establishing the tournament which, along with the Open Championship to be held at Royal Liverpool in the future, will bring prestige to the area and really put Wirral on the golfing map again.”
European funding for the scheme’s start up costs, for four years, will be met by £360,000 from the European Objective One programme. Sefton and Wirral Councils with the North West Development Agency are contributing £341,000 and the rest will be made up by the private sector.
Tourism minister, Kim Howells said: “This is a good example of an area that understands the economic benefits of investing in tourism. By building on its strengths to attract a niche market, Merseyside should enjoy the extra jobs and investment that boosting tourism brings. I wish them well.”
The festival, which will alternate its main event each year between Sefton and Wirral, is scheduled to start in September 2003. As well as the English Seniors the festival will incorporate a variety of amateur and pro-am competitions at other prestige courses and include an ambitious blend of golf based attractions.
Organisers are in the process of appointing an event co-ordination company and are actively seeking a major sponsor partner with the vision to take advantage of one of the fastest growing sectors in the golf market.
Merseyside has a vast array of golf courses in a wide variety of settings including six links courses ranked in the top one hundred in the British Isles.
Further information www.golf-england.co.uk