When the Open Championship arrived at Royal Birkdale last year you would have assumed that the town of Southport would have been buzzing with people. Sefton council even paid for shuttle buses to and from the town centre to encourage golf fans to come to the centre. However, there was a problem. The R&A introduced a policy of no re-admission at the Open Championship.
Whilst the Open Championship attracted hundreds of thousands of people that week, the economic benefits were unfairly distributed when fans were told that once they left Royal Birkdale, they would have to pay again to re-enter.
It was the first time that the R&A introduced this policy and they claimed it was to stop people getting ripped off with unofficial hospitality packages. Once fans were in they were welcomed with over inflated prices for food and drink and denied the chance to spend some time in Southport.
The town had its day trippers but not many. Instead, the R&A park and ride shuttle buses took patrons straight to the gates of the Open Championship. Since the Championship began, the policy has always been to allowed re-entry if patrons wanted to explore the surrounding areas.
The inconvenience for any town to host a major sporting event is considerable. Traffic build up, one way systems and other issues. Now the Open heads to Carnoustie, a small village where the links are only a short walk from the high street. The R&A have decided to keep its policy of no readmission.
Needless to say that those businesses on Carnoustie high street are going to be hit. It should be a golden period for those businesses and the local economy. Instead, fans will be trapped inside the Open where the R&A will rack in the cash and deny patrons the chance to see the town.
Local businessman, David Valentine has set up a petition to get the R&A to reconsider this policy. David writes: ”We think the R&A have made a mistake by saying this policy will guard against the "inferior" and "unofficial" off-course hospitality. This is a slur on the hundreds of excellent pubs, eateries and cafes in all the host venues on the Open Rota. It will also prevent fans from enjoying the legitimate activities of the host communities whose residents, golf clubs, restaurants and other local businesses have traditionally helped Open fans to celebrate off-course by providing festival-style entertainment.”
We couldn’t agree with you more David and for this reason, Golfhacker is backing the campaign and urge the R&A to reconsider this policy.
To sign the petition simply click the link below: