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Top golfers put Conwy and Llyn on the map
The drive to attract golfing tourists to North Wales is set to receive a double boost with preparations underway for two prestigious competitions. For the first time ever, Wales is to host a qualifying tournament for the British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July. It is hoped that the competition at Conwy Golf Club on July 10 and 11 will be graced by some of the world's top players. Now, it has been revealed that the Challenge Tour will be stopping off at a second links course, Nefyn Golf Club, on the Llyn Peninsula, later that month. The Challenge Tour event will reach a huge audience of golf fans when it is televised in an hour-long slot on Sky Sports. The news couldn't have come at a better time for Tourism Partnership North Wales who are coordinating a huge marketing campaign to develop golf tourism. Tourism Partnership are aiming to ensure that the region enjoys a big slice of the action generated by the Ryder Cup when it comes to Wales in 2010. After the Olympics and the World Cup, the Ryder Cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world and will plough tens of millions of pounds into the Welsh economy. Tourism Partnership Golf Executive Roger Lewis said: "We are unique in North Wales in that we have a number of very, very good links courses at very affordable prices. The green fees at top quality courses like Conwy are only £30 which, compared to Scotland and Ireland, is absolutely remarkable." "North Wales is very much a hidden gem as far as the golfing fraternity is concerned and on top of that quality accommodation near all the courses. Because of the Ryder Cup, the Welsh Assembly is pumping money into promote golf. "Although we've got the golf courses here, we've still got work to do to catch up Scotland and Ireland as a golfing destination. "The potential is enormous because there is space for on our golf courses for people to play. Traditionally, a lot of people have come across the border into North Wales for golfing day trips. "We are trying to tag on the extra value by persuading them to stay for an extra day or so. "The opportunity this gives us in terms of exposure is wonderful you can't buy advertising like that." There is unconfined joy at Conwy Golf Club about the imminent arrival of the British Open qualifier which will see 96 players competing in two rounds spread over two days. Spokesman Aled Jones said: "As a member of the club for more than 40 years, I have always loved the course anyway and felt that it deserved better in terms of recognition. "I don't think there is any finer recognition than being linked to the Open Championship in this way. "It's quite a coup and we are really looking forward to it. It's probably the biggest championship in the world and we are hoping that there will be some big names coming here. "It's very exciting and there's a lot of hard work been done over the past three or four years to improve the course. "We have put in a new irrigation system and reconstructed the bunkers and added some new ones. "When these guys come here it is going to be a big test for them. It is a challenging course but a beautiful one. And there was equal delight at the Nefyn club where the Secretary/Manager, Barry Owens, did a great deal of work behind the scenes to secure the Challenge Tour event. And better still, two of the club's own members, Mark Pilkington and James Salt, will be taking part. The event will also be a fitting swansong for Barry Owens who will be retiring not long after. He said: "It is a huge thing for Nefyn. There is no doubt that this is the biggest competition in the history of the club. "You won't get a better location for a golf club anywhere there is nowhere to compare with Nefyn. "And there's a lot of work going on at the moment to ensure that the course will be at its best when they come here."


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