Saturday, 01 September 2018
Phil Golding putts in front of a packed grandstand at Woburn  (Getty Images)
Phil Golding putts in front of a packed grandstand at Woburn (Getty Images)

Thousands of people flocked to Woburn Golf Club to take advantage of the Free Friday initiative at the 2018 Travis Perkins Masters, with the attendance showing an improvement on each of the last four years.

To celebrate Travis Perkins plc’s 15-year involvement in the Staysure Tour, spectators were admitted onto the grounds of Woburn Golf Course free of charge on Friday, with the option of donating to Prostate Cancer UK instead.

As the sun shone on the final day of August, 6,093 spectators passed through the gates to the Duke’s Course to witness Paul Streeter take a first round lead following an opening six under par 66.

The total attendance figure on Friday is the highest first day attendance of the Travis Perkins Masters since 2013 and David MacLaren, Head of the Staysure Tour, believes the initiative was a huge success.

“There are many people involved in a successful tournament,” he said. “I think when you look at the number of tournaments that Woburn has staged over the years, you look at our partners Travis Perkins, a local business who have been hugely supportive, we all sat down and thought ‘we’ve been here for 11 years, 11 successful years, what can we do to make this year slightly different?’

“‘What can we do to attract people who wouldn’t normally come to a golf tournament?’ We’ve done it and I think it worked incredibly well.”

Looking at the wider picture, MacLaren believes that the Free Friday initiative contributes to growing the game of golf, something which the Staysure Tour, along with the European Tour, is at the forefront of.

“It’s important to remember what a strong, successful game golf is,” he said.

“It is one of the most participated individual sports in the world but I think we realise that we need to attract new generations of audience. I think when you look at what we’re trying to do on the Staysure Tour, you wouldn’t necessarily think that it’s somewhere that we’d be trying to do something different.

“We’ve had a tournament this year where Dame Laura Davies played against legends of the game, we’ve got a tournament next year where we’re going to have ladies playing against our guys and Challenge Tour players, so I think we are trying to embrace what a modern sport should be in a modern age.”

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