Turnberry, the majestic Ayrshire course which has already hosted three Open Championships and three Amateur Championships has been named as the venue for the Amateur in a schedule of events for 2008 announced by The R&A.
The development of Turnberry was twice interrupted by war and it was not until 1961 that the Amateur Championship was initially played there, the first of many Championships to grace its fairways.
Kingsbarns is an even more recent addition to the expanding list of championship courses being in only its first decade of existence, although it is believed that golf in some form was played there as early as the late 1700’s. Now, it has been selected to host the St Andrews Trophy and the Jacques Leglise Trophy matches in which Great Britain and Ireland take on the Continent of Europe at senior and boys levels.
The Boys Amateur Championship and Boys Home Internationals go to two venues of quite differing characteristics in Little Aston and Royal County Down. The former is set in the rolling countryside surrounding Little Aston Hall in the Midlands of England, while the latter is situated in Newcastle, Northern Ireland where the “Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea”. Little Aston is a fine example of a fair yet testing inland layout, which received the endorsement of Henry Cotton who stated, “This course must have the best fairways in the world. I naturally have not seen them all but I have never seen better and more weed free turf anywhere – all the year round too.”
Likewise, Royal County Down is an acclaimed championship layout and over the next few years, in addition to the 2008 Boys Home Internationals, will host the 2006 Women’s British Amateur and the following year will be the venue for the Walker Cup match when the US team will be hoping to defend the trophy they won this year in Chicago.
Royal St David’s, the venue for the British Mid-Amateur Championship, is one of a limited number of championship courses in Wales and is laid out on dune land between Harlech Castle and the sea. Unusually, it has a par of 69 but despite that has hosted many championships since it was founded in 1894. The most recent major tournaments to be played there include The Club Professionals Championship (1998), The British Boys (1999), the Ladies’ Home Internationals (2000) and the Boys Home Internationals (2003).
In 2008 the Seniors Open Amateur Championship will be played in Kent, at Royal Cinque Ports and Princes, two courses that hosted The Open in the earlier part of the 20th Century. The winners at Royal Cinque Ports in 1909 and 1920 were JH Taylor and George Duncan while at Prince’s in 1932, it was 30-year-old Gene Sarazen who led after each round and won by 5 shots with a record score of 283.