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British Open Will Return to Royal St. George's & County of Kent in 2011


The Open Championship will return to County of Kent and Royal St. George's Golf Club in July 2011, the only venue in southern England that has hosted one of golf's most prestigious major championships.

It will be the 14th time the historic links at Sandwich has welcomed the Open. It was the first venue outside of Scotland to host an Open, in 1894, placing Kent, known as "The Garden of England," in the spotlight.

Royal St. George's Golf Club is among more than 100 golf courses in the county, which also features modern classics such as Jack Nicklaus' London Golf Club and Nick Faldo's Chart Hills, plus such historic courses as Leeds Castle.

In an article in Kent Golf magazine, Royal St. George's Golf Club Secretary Christopher Gabbey says: "In many ways, there is an argument to say the Open should come down this way slightly more often than elsewhere because we are the only one in the south. It means a lot to the county. When the Open is in your neck of the woods, it's terrific."

Previous winners of the Open Championship at Royal St. George's include Greg Norman (1993), Sandy Lyle (1985) and Walter Hagen (1922 and '28). American Ben Curtis was the winner of the most recent Open Championship at Sandwich, in 2003.

The club, which has made changes to the bunkering on its 18th hole to make it more demanding for the Open, as well as adding five new tees and 100 more yards to the course, is part of Kent's "Regal Golf Coast," which includes Royal Cinque Ports (venue of the Open Championship in 1909 and 1920), Prince's (the Open venue in 1932), Littlestone (a Final Qualifying course for the 2011 Open) and North Foreland.

Kent also boasts the London Golf Club, plus Chart Hills, ranked 82nd in Golf World magazine's Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland. With new fast train services to London, the Channel Tunnel rail link to Continental Europe, plus improvements to roads, more than 200,000 spectators are expected to descend on the Kent coast during Open week, with tens of thousands more from the UK and nearby European countries anticipated to take golf breaks in the county in the months before and after the event.

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent, commented: "Kent is an outstanding golf destination with so much variety and value. With a deserved reputation as the Garden of England, our pubs, restaurants, guest houses and hotels are renowned for their hospitality, offering quality Kentish produce. As well as visitors from America, the UK and South East England, we are seeing more and more visitors from Continental Europe. Indeed, we have a special cooperation with the golf courses of the Cote d'Opale and are seeing golfers from both sides of the Channel enjoying the courses in Kent and northern France."

Matthews-Marsh added: "We look forward to welcoming back the Open Championship and everyone who comes to stay and play in the 'Garden of England.' "

For more information about golf in Kent and a chance to win a two-night golf vacation, visit www.visitkentgolf.co.uk.