The Northern Irishman, who led next door at Archerfield Links heading into the final round last year before losing out to Paul Eales, is attached to the new venue and is acting as tournament ambassador on behalf of the club’s founder and CEO Jerry Sarvadi.
“I watched Renaissance Club being built, and we’re seeing it come to its glory with this event,” said Rafferty. “The players will see this course at its finest, it is in fabulous condition.
“Jerry has done a fabulous job setting this place up. He’s a keen advocate of this game and is proud of his achievement here. This is a great showcase for this course.”
Englishman Eales is looking forward to defending a championship for the first time despite winning on both the European Tour and European Challenge Tour in his 32-year career.
“This does feel really special,” said the Southport-based player. “I didn’t get to defend the Extremadura Open because that was taken off the schedule the year after I won it. Coming back to this part of the world is magical. It’s a wonderful place to play golf in.
“The memories from last year are coming back and it was special for me and my wife Sharon to win last year. It was a really special time and one we will always cherish.”
Making his return to action on home soil is Gary Orr, who joined the European Senior Tour after turning 50 earlier this year. This event will be his first Scottish appearance since the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2013.
“It always means a little bit more when you’re playing at home,” said Helensburgh man Orr. “You want to do well; but you do feel that extra pressure.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing again and I’ve played some solid golf. I’m happy with how it’s going so far.”
Joining the trio in the field are former Masters winner Ian Woosnam and Senior major champions Paul Broadhurst, Roger Chapman, Mark James and Mark McNulty.
Orr and former Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance are among six Scots in the field, the others being Andrew Oldcorn, Stephen McAllister, Bill Longmuir and Ross Drummond.
Admission is free of charge, with car parking charged at £5 per car with one occupant and £10 per car with two or more occupants. All proceeds go to Prostate Cancer UK.