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Special treat for golf lovers

A section of the fairways and greens at the Apes Hill course.

A section of the fairways and greens at the Apes Hill course.

Golf lovers are in for a special treat starting next week Thursday.

And not only will it be serious competition, but it will also be a learning experience.

Amateurs will partner professionals in a one-day Pro-Am competition on September 5, and then professionals will tussle over three days for a handsome cash-prize, when the 2013 United Insurance Barbados Open Golf Championships tee-off next week.

This action will unfold in the 30th United Insurance Barbados Open, where along with participation by professionals, some other elements have been added to make the event a really special edition.

For the first time a segment of the Open Championships will be played at the plush Apes Hill course, in St. James, which will host the Pro-Am tournament and also the 54-hole, three-day tournament for professionals.

Apes Hill, opened in 2009, is one of the newest high-end golf courses in the Caribbean and enjoys a prime location at almost 1000 feet above sea level in the centre of the island.

It means that four courses will see action in the annual championships for the first time this year. Amateur players are excited that the traditional three-day amateur tournament, which has come to be regarded as the national championships of local golf, will be played at three different courses for the first time in their history.

On Friday, September 6, the amateur championships tee-off at the Barbados Golf Club, at Durants, and continue on the Saturday at The Country Club at Sandy Lane and then Royal Westmoreland on Sunday.

Marketing manager of title-sponsor United Insurance, Sharron Alleyne-Elcock, said her company was proud to be associated with the Barbados Open over many years and equally happy to support the new innovations to make the 30th edition really special.

“The United Barbados Open has been a prominent feature on the Caribbean golf calendar for many years and this year we have stepped up the effort to provide more exciting golf on four courses, and a variety of social events . We urge participants and spectators to enjoy the tournament, and have fun as this edition really showcases an upgrade worthy of 30 years and counting.

“We at United are happy to continue our support for this prestigious tournament which has grown from year to year and which we are sure will delight participants, our specially invited guests and other golf enthusiasts over four days,” said Alleyne-Elcock.

But with the Pro-Am set to get the ball rolling for the 2013 championships, several amateurs are excited by the prospect of playing alongside more accomplished players with zero handicaps.

In the Barbados Open Pro-Am, each professional will accompany three amateur partners and they will compete as a best-ball foursome, with the amateurs using their handicaps.

Using this format, birdies are commonplace and the team score is normally competitive. In some other events, the teams use a scramble format, selecting the best drive, best second shot, and so on until the ball is in the hole.

Predictably, such Pro-Ams are usually beneficial for ordinary golfers as they get to learn from the pros and also have fun during the 18-hole tutorial. (BB)

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