In the build up to hosting this year’s Open Championship, Carnoustie is to stage a new mixed gender event featuring both young professionals and leading amateurs.
A collaboration between Carnoustie Golf Links, the PGA and Scottish Golf, the “Carnoustie Challenge” will be played over 18 holes on 18 April and will involve around 60 players in total.
That number will hopefully include young PGA professionals and leading amateurs attached to all 10 clubs on the R&A’s rota for the Open Championship. The remainder of the field will be made up of assistant professionals from the Tartan Tour Order of Merit and some elite Scottish amateur players.
The event was the brainchild of Carnoustie’s PGA head professional, Colin Sinclair, and marks the fact that Carnoustie is one of the few courses to have hosted both The Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“One of Carnoustie Golf Links key objectives is promoting participation in golf,” said Sinclair. “We feel the Carnoustie Challenge will provide young leading golfers the exciting opportunity of playing in tournament conditions on the Open Championship golf course.
“This will allow the competitors to gauge where their game is at but at the same time hopefully creating great memories playing The Open course the year of The Open.”
Males will play from the tees being used for this year’s Open Championship, while females will play from the tees used at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2011. Carrying a £3,000 prize fund, the event is being sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin, with hickory putter trophies being presented to both male and female winners.
In a bid to encourage an appropriate pace of play, “ready golf” will be implemented and each group will be given a timing tag.
“We are delighted to work with Carnoustie Golf Links, Scottish Golf Limited and Johnstons of Elgin to deliver this innovative event,” said the PGA’s Regional Manager for Scotland, Shona Malcolm.