The Open Qualifying Series
Fairhaven
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Inside one of the venues for Regional Qualifying
<pPeter Alliss probably knows more about British golf courses than anyone on the planet. So when he describes the Fairhaven course as a ‘hidden gem’ it pays to sit up and take notice.</p

 

The man they call the ‘Voice of Golf’ holds the Lancashire course, rubbing shoulders with Royal Lytham & St Annes, in the highest regard. And it is not hard to see why.

A stunning links course with near perfect conditions all year round – Fairhaven’s connection with The Open is far more than just geographical. Founded as a club in 1895, the course took shape when none other than five-time Champion Golfer of The Year James Braid designed it back in 1924.

Professional golf began at Fairhaven back in 1934 when the course played host to the Penfold Tournament.

Since then it has hosted many prestigious events. An international match between England and Spain that featured Sergio Garcia, Final Qualifying for both men’s and women’s Opens and this year will host the Senior Open Qualifying.

The Open connections don’t stop there, the aforementioned Alliss – who himself managed five top-ten finishes at The Open – played a part in the course’s re-design in the 1970s. And the current course record holder? None other than 1997 Champion Golfer of the Year Justin Leonard.

The American star fired a 64 a year before his Open triumph at Royal Troon.

Golf World named the course in ‘Great Britain’s Best 10 Opening Holes’ as well as the ‘Top 100 courses in England.’

There are five par-5 holes on the course, two in the opening three holes before closing with two in the final four holes, giving big-hitters the chance for a fast start and the prospect of a grandstand finish. 

Beware the fescue rough on all sides and the 128 bunkers that pockmark the course.

But the sandy sub-soil does mean the well-presented course can be enjoyed throughout the year.

"It is an absolute challenge of golf for any golfer of professional or scratch standard,” adds the club’s general manager Martin Robinson. "There are long holes, there are short testing holes, there is risk and reward.

Robinson added: "We are proud as a club to have such a good relationship with the R&A.

Fairhaven will be hosting Regional Qualifying for the fourth year in succession ahead of The 148th Open at Portrush in July.