The Grand Open Venues Tour needn’t leave too much to the imagination. The clue is in the title. This is an ambitious attempt to weave together all ten of the current links used for hosting the Open Championship in a single itinerary, but as you might have guessed, it’s kind of difficult to ‘get on’. In the first case, you won’t be able to 100% complete this tour in June or the first three weeks of July. By definition, at least one of the courses is going to be closed for preparation during this period. That’s not all. The next thing we’re going to require is to get the availability to line-up sequentially. These courses are regularly called upon to host other championships. It ain’t easy to find a window that snares the lot.
Our task is made harder still by a number of Open Championship venues operating visitor playing restrictions which push us onto certain days of the week, and critical timing windows within those days too. Royal St Georges, Royal Troon and Muirfield are very tight. Neither Hoylake or Royal Portrush are straight-forward either, whilst St Andrews comes with its own unique considerations we need to absorb. There’s only really Turnberry, Carnoustie and Royal Lytham who are relatively unencumbered.
Then there’s the issue of distribution. Whereas the three on England’s Lancashire coast, and the five Scottish venues aren’t too bad, Royal St Georges in the deep south-east of England, and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland are outliers. This pair really don’t thread together very well at all. They require specific transport interventions to get there, and a consequential allowance made for travelling time in the itinerary. We’ll need to chop and change things. We” deploy a chauffeur-drive for the day-trip from London to Royal St Georges. The train from London to Edinburgh. Self drive throughout Scotland, with a car ferry to Northern Ireland, and finally flying back to Manchester from Belfast to pick up the northern English courses using a second self-drive vehicle.
All in all though you get a running order of Royal St Georges, Muirfield, St Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry, Royal Portrush, Royal Birkdale, Hoylake and Royal Lytham. The grand open venues tour will be demanding, and difficult to assemble. We’ll need to begin circa late February for play the following year. If we can get the lot, that’d be great, but even if we come up short by a couple you’re still unlikely to ever get a better golfing experience
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