Carnoustie the real Ladies’ Open winner

CARNOUSTIE can breath a sigh of relief and take a step back now that the rush of the Ricoh Women’s British Open golf tournament is over.

The competition was played over four days on the Carnoustie Golf Links and appears to have attracted a huge number of visitors.

More than 30,000 people turned out to see the top female golfers from around the world battle it out to win the only European Major for women.

It would appear that Yani Tseng was not the only beneficiary of the competition, as the town’s public houses were full to capacity, with residents brushing shoulders with tourists and golfers alike.

Proprietor of the Station Hotel Kathryn Farmer said: “We’ve had a great week. Roughly, I think we were probably up over 50 per cent on meals served from Thursday to Sunday.

“Our rooms were booked solid, too, the bar was chock-a-block all weekend and we also had a few celebrities visiting. Cristie Kerr came in for her supper on Friday and enjoyed herself very much.

“All the golfers were really lovely, and it’s nice that they mingled with the regulars so easily.

“They were just ordinary folk, and they acted like that.

“It’s nice to see Carnoustie on the international stage like this, and hopefully it will be good for the town.”

On Saturday night the pool table at the Station Hotel became the home away from home of BBC golf commentators Andrew Cotter and Ken Brown.

On Sunday night, Yani Tseng ducked into the Station Hotel lounge for a quiet cup of tea after more than 9,000 people had watched her emerge victorious at the 18th hole.

Simpson’s Golf Shop on the Links Parade also had a busy time of it. Shop professional Ron Tickle said: “It was great for us, we’re right on the 18th green so it was really easy for us.

“We had a tremendous time and we really appreciated the opportunity. The Senior Open was nothing like this.”

Carnoustie councillor Brian Boyd spent most of his weekend handing out flyers promoting the attractions of the town.

He said: “I was at the golf course at 7.30 a.m. on Saturday morning handing out leaflets to people to try and encourage them to visit the High Street.

“A lot of people took leaflets but we don’t know how many took advantage of the ‘request stop’ facility of the shuttle buses.

“Hopefully in the months to come people will find these flyers in their handbags and satchels, look at the business directory and visit for a round of golf or a holiday.”

Angus MSP Graeme Dey was full of praise for the event and the organisers, he said: “The course looked fantastic and it was clearly very well organised from the word go.

“The golf itself was excellent and congratulations are due to Yani Tseng for her victory.

“Any major golf event like this provides a major boost for the town and for Angus as a whole, and I look forward to the next opportunity we get to showcase Carnoustie’s outstanding links course.”

IMG tour director Ross Hallett, one of the men behind organising the competition at Carnoustie, was delighted with the response he has had.

He said: “Carnoustie was very well received by the players. The venue, the course, the set up as a whole went down very well with everyone.

“The new pro-centre integrated smoothly into the event and everything has just been very well received.”

When asked if IMG would consider bringing the Ricoh Women’s British Open back to Carnoustie Mr Hallett replied: “Of course!”

For him the highlights were easy to pinpoint, he said: “Clearly, for us seeing Yani win was fantastic.

“Also, to see all these new players, and to see them play so well was great.

“It all went very well!”

Carnoustie Country Ambassador Catriona Matthew certainly enjoyed her time in Carnoustie. She said: “The crowd were fantastic, they were cheering away and gave me a great reception coming up the last.

“Carnoustie is one of the best links courses there is and I think everyone enjoyed their week here.”

Angus Council’s tourism spokesperson Councillor David May believes the long term economic benefits will far outweigh any short term profit.

He said: “Just as the Seniors’ Open did last year, the benefit is not just about what happens during a championship itself but what it does to promote this area as a golf destination to the thousands of spectators who either come along or watch it on TV.”

Every little bit of promotion helps, and the Carnoustie Country brand has been a regular sight at golf tournaments.

Councillor May concluded: “We promoted Carnoustie Country at last year’s championship at Royal Birkdale and there was a lot of interest from those who wanted to play golf in this area as well as watch it.”