The 2011 Senior Open Championship is set to significantly boost the local economy around Walton Heath Golf Club next week, with spectator numbers on course to inbe up on last year’s event.
Advanced ticket sales have already surpassed the number sold ahead of The 2010 Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie, where two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer captured the title finishing one stroke clear of US Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin.
It is anticipated that spectator numbers will rival those when The Senior Open Championship last visited the south of England in 2009, when more than 39,000 people flocked to Sunningdale.
With more than 300 competitors also taking part in an 18 hole qualifying event on Monday at three courses - Betchworth Park, Burhill Golf Club and Kingswood Golf and Country Club – The Senior Open Championship from July 21-24 is set to boost the Surrey economy by more than £5million.
This year is the 25th anniversary of The Senior Open Championship and many of the game’s most iconic names, including Langer, Tom Watson, and local hero, Sam Torrance, will be battling it out against each other on the famous Surrey heathland.
It is 30 years since Walton Heath hosted the 1981 Ryder Cup, which was the first to be contested by a combined European Team and the United States on European soil and eight players from that groundbreaking contest are in the field for The Senior Open.
Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour on behalf of The Senior Open Championship, said: “The 2011 Senior Open Championship is a wonderful opportunity to come and watch a fantastic field of Major Champions and former Ryder Cup players tackle a magnificent course at Walton Heath.
“We also have a number of added attractions such as a Family Fun Day on Saturday July 23, making it a superb event for everyone to attend. The Senior Open Championship has attracted some impressive crowds in recent years and we more busy galleries at Walton Heath next week.”
Cllr Roger Newstead, Executive Member for Partnership and Property at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “It is a great opportunity to be able to welcome such a prestigious event as The Senior Open Championship to Reigate and Banstead.
“The event will provide a boost to the local economy, particularly our hotels and restaurants, and the wider economy will also benefit as visitors spend their money locally. The event will focus the eyes of the world on Surrey as a destination, and the fantastic golfing opportunities on offer within the borough, not only at Walton Heath Golf Club but at several other challenging and beautiful courses.
“It is also a rare opportunity for residents to be able to witness such an event on their own doorstep involving some of the top players of the last 20 years or so.
“We will continue to work closely with the organisers and other partners to ensure the event’s success.”
The 2011 Senior Open Championship is free for Under 16s when accompanied with an adult. Spectators can also visit the superb Village Brassiere which provides added catering opportunities. For more information visit www.europeantourtickets.com.