The Open Qualifying Series
Minchinhampton
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Inside one of the venues for Regional Qualifying

When Minchinhampton Golf Club hosts Regional Qualifying for The 148th Open it will also present a unique playing opportunity for its members.

With three courses available, the Gloucestershire club will welcome hopeful qualifiers back to its sprawling parkland courses once again this year for a traditional treat.

This year, holes from both the Avening and the Cherington courses will be used to create a composite layout that reforms the original arrangement of the holes, referred to as The Avening Championship Course.

And general manager Simon Pope is thrilled to be able to give his members a taste of something different.

“We will be using the original layout from our Avening Championship Course in 1975 as the layout for Regional Qualifying which is not something you can do ordinarily here because it is an amalgamation of two courses,” he said.

“From a members and visitors point of view, unless they have been a member here for more than 30 years, they wouldn’t have had a chance to play on this layout and it is a really nice and novel opportunity to play some different golf at their club.

“We had a very successful year last year – the weather was fantastic and that made it a great day for everyone.”

First built in 1889, the course prospered on its hillocky high plateau and, come the early seventies, the need to expand to new premises led to purchasing nearby farmlands.

An old barn was converted to a clubhouse that was extended in the early nineties and, as the demand for membership increased, more land was purchased, and another course was constructed and opened in 1995.

“We are a classic British parkland course with tree-lined fairways and you need to plot your way around; this is not a bombers course that’s for sure,” explained Pope.

“It is very much a thinking man’s course and there are a couple of par-threes over the water – it is just really pretty but of course there are difficulties.”

Greenkeeper Tom Workman became the centre of attention during the course’s first Regional Qualifying after an 11-year absence when he spent the early hours of the morning maintaining the greens and the afternoon putting on them.

“We are a very busy golf club and when we put on the event last year we had hundreds of players come through, so we are very much looking forward to doing that again,” said Pope.

“We had television crews and live radio broadcasts on site so to get that sort of coverage is amazing for us too.

“One of our greenkeepers, Tom, actually worked on the morning of the event because he really wanted to do his job, so he broke his neck to get here at 5am to make sure the course was in good shape and then got changed and went and played.

“He will be entering again this year and he had a huge crowd following him around, and I think to have members of staff playing at the event is fantastic.”