The First Stage of The 2011 European Tour Qualifying School will take in visits to new venues in England and France, with Frilford Heath near Oxford and Hardelot Golf Club near Boulogne joining an already impressive roster of championship courses.
Located close to the Edwardian seaside resort of Hardelot in the Pas de Calais region of northern France, the historic Pines Course at Hardelot Golf Club, which has hosted events on the Challenge Tour and the Senior Tour Qualifying School, is set amongst dunes and the picturesque pine forest from which it takes its name.
Along with the magnificent Circolo Golf Bogogno near Milan, Italy, the Pines Course, which first opened for play in 1905 and was re-designed by Tom Simpson in 1931, will stage the First Stage Section C from September 27-30, 2011.
Ken Strachan, General Manager of Hardelot Golf Club, said: “Staging The European Tour Qualifying School First Stage at Hardelot is a great honour for our complex, and we are looking forward to the challenges that come with hosting such a great event.”
One week later, from October 4-7, another venue new to the Qualifying School Schedule, Frilford Heath, will host the First Stage Section D. The Red Course was designed by five-time Open Champion JH Taylor, whose other courses include Royal Birkdale and Royal Mid-Surrey.
Situated just south of the historic city of Oxford, Frilford Heath was built on 600 acres of undulating heathland, parts of which have been designated a site of Special Scientific Interest. The English Amateur Championship will be held at the venue for the second time in July 2013.
Alistair Booth, Executive Director of Frilford Heath Golf Club, said: “Frilford Heath is delighted to be chosen by The European Tour as one of its venues for the First Stage of the Qualifying School. We feel privileged to make our Red Course available, which at just under 7,000 yards will present a suitably tough challenge for the professionals. Our members are also excited to be supporting The European Tour, and I’m sure many of them will come along to attend the event.”
The other course hosting Section D is the returning Ribagolfe, a world-class venue near the Portugese capital Lisbon which forms part of the European Golf Design portfolio.
For the second successive year Ebreichsdorf Golf Club, south of Vienna, will appear on the Qualifying School Schedule when, one week before the Austrian GolfOpen, its stunning parkland course hosts Section A from September 13-16. The other venue being used for Section A is the superb course at Dundonald Links Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Section B welcomes back the 7,191 yard, par 72 course at Wychwood Park in Cheshire, England, which drew widespread praise when it made its debut on the Qualifying School last year. Old favourite Golf and Country Club Fleesensee, which was designed by European Golf Design and is part of The European Tour Properties portfolio, will stage Section B in tandem with Wychwood Park from September 20-23.
Mike Stewart, European Tour Qualifying School Director, said: “Having recently visited both courses, I have no doubt that Hardelot Golf Club and Frilford Heath will prove welcome additions to the First Stage of the Qualifying School. Each year we strive to improve the quality of the venues we use, and I think the reputations of the Pines Course at Hardelot and the Red Course at Frilford Heath speak for themselves. We look forward to visiting them later in the year and also to returning to some of the more established venues on the Qualifying School Schedule, where we are always afforded a warm welcome.”
For the full schedule, please click here