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New course on cloud nine
THE Ryder Cup will be the star attraction when East Lancashire's newest golf complex is officially opened next week.
The famous trophy, retained by Europe when they beat the United States in Ireland last September, goes on show during a fun-packed programme of events at Oak Royal Golf and Country Club in Withnell on Saturday, August 25.
It will arrive at the new nine-hole course based on Bury Lane, accompanied by PGA chief executive Sandy Jones, who will also perform the opening ceremony.
Course owners Charles and Kath Downes are hoping the venue, situated in beautiful countryside just one mile from Junction 3 off the M65, will become one of the best in the country of its type.
"In the USA, they are building more nine-hole golf courses because people just don't have the time to play 18 holes," said Charles.
"But what they don't want is pitch and putt, they want serious golf.
"This is the new generation of golf courses. It's what peope want because they can enjoy a round in two-and-a-half hours.
"Give me four years and this will be the best course of its kind in the country. Blackburn will be very proud of this course."
He added: "We can't do any better than bringing the Ryder Cup here for our opening day.
"It's a great honour for Sandy to bring it here and for him to officiate at the opening."
The undulating 3,180-yard course, with a par of 37, affords some of the most breathtaking and uninterrupted views in the North West.
No expense has been spared on the lay-out which starts with a gentle par three and ends with three par five finishing holes which will challenge the lowest handicap players.
Greens have been built to USGA standard and can be played on all-year round.
The official opening and Ryder Cup presentation will be from noon to 3pm but there will be a buzz of activity throughout the day.
Visitors can play nine holes free between 8am and 8pm, there will be a nearest to the pin challenge with professional Tony Howarth, who will also conduct free video lessons, a year's free membership for a hole-in-one, a Mini-marvel Kids' Zone, a putting competition for all the family and a free buffet.