Edinburgh to host golf festival in Open warm-up

ORGANISERS of the Open Championship are taking golf into the city in a bid to add extra promotion for this year’s event at Muirfield.

On 11-13 July – the week before the East Lothian course stages the world’s oldest major for the 16th time – St Andrews Square is being turned into a festival of golf by the R&A.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to try the game, receive some tips from PGA golf professionals, play some of the great Open courses on EA Sports games consoles and get their picture taken with the Claret Jug. The event will also feature a golf simulator, a large screen showing some of the great moments from the Open Championship and artificial practice putting greens.

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“The Open will attract tens of thousands of people to Edinburgh and East Lothian for the week of the Championship,” said Michael Tate, the R&A’s executive director of business affairs. “But we wanted to bring a little bit of The Open into the City of Edinburgh and celebrate its status as Britain’s biggest festival of golf.

“The Open in the Square will showcase golf and let the people of Edinburgh interact directly with the world’s oldest major championship. It will be a great way for people to give golf a try and even to get their hands on the Claret Jug, an opportunity normally reserved for the legends of the game.”

Ernie Els claimed that honour the last time the event was held at Muirfield in 2002, emulating the likes of Harry Vardon, James Braid, Walter Hagen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Nick Faldo.

The St Andrews Square event will be free and open to the public from 11am to 7pm.

While it is the first time the R&A has tried to promote golf and The Open in such a way, the same venue was used to offer ClubGolf taster sessions during last year’s Edinburgh Festival.