The eyes of the sporting world will be focused on the start of the Ryder Cup today – but on the Fylde coast, preparations are already underway for its amateur equivalent.
As Europe tee off against the United States in the popular golf event at Gleneagles, Scotland, Royal Lytham and St Annes is making plans ahead of the Walker Cup, where Great Britain and Ireland will play their American counterparts.
The event will be held in 12 months’ time at the Fylde coast course and in the past has featured the likes of Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and two of this year’s Ryder Cup stars – world number one Rory McIlroy and US star Rickie Fowler.
Club secretary Charles Grimley said next year’s event “meant a lot” to the club and would complete the list of golf competitions it has hosted.
He added: “We have had the Ryder Cup, the Open, the Women’s Open and the Senior Open.
“This is the last piece of the jigsaw. We are really ecstatic about having it here.
“We are big supporters of amateur golf, in particular hosting the Lytham Trophy.
“We are hoping to have 7,000 people a day for the two day competition.”
The event starts on September 12, featuring four foursomes matches and eight singles matches, followed by four foursomes matches on September 13 and 10 singles matches.
Mr Grimley said discussions have started about preparations with the organisers of the event, the Royal and Ancient (R & A), and felt the support of the Fylde coast golf community would be key to a successful event.
He added: “I went to my first Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen. It is a really good spectator experience.
“The beauty of it is the spectators who walk with the players can follow behind them, rather than being held back by roping alongside the hole.
“If you look back through the history of the competition all the players are the next big thing. To watch these players so closely, who are super talented, is a great experience.
“Hopefully we will get a good spectator presence.”
David Hill, the R & A’s director of championships said: “As one of Great Britain and Ireland’s premier links courses, Royal Lytham will undoubtedly provide a stern test befitting a contest that has come to represent the pinnacle of amateur achievement.
“The golfing public in the north-west of England are extremely knowledgeable and have always shown a keen interest in the amateur game.
“We look forward to welcoming them to Lytham in 2015 for what will be a fantastic celebration of golf.”
Tickets will be free on practice days before the competition starts, with prices to be confirmed on match days.
For more information go to www.randa.org