The Brabazon Trophy – one of the Majors of amateur golf – was put in the spotlight today at Notts Golf Club.
The club, better known as Hollinwell, will host the championship in June and members of the golf media gathered to meet leading England players who will be contesting the title.
England squad players Dan Brown, Adam Chapman, Tom Gandy, Luke Johnson, Nick Marsh, Sean Towndrow and Michael Saunders, spoke about their ambitions and preparations.
They were joined by former champion Charlie Banks, a member at Hollinwell who won the Brabazon there in 1983. He renewed his acquaintance with the trophy as he remembered a triumph which, he laughed, had left him feeling “quite shaky”.
He’d been well in the hunt after two rounds, slipped back a little after three, and then charged to a grandstand finish with a birdie on 17 and an up-and-down from a greenside bunker on 18. “I holed a 10-footer to give me a one-shot margin,” he said.
But the miracle shot which stays with him was played on the 13th. “This was in the days of spinning balata balls and wooden clubs,” he said. “I’d hit it on the tee to the right of the green and I played a flop shot to 3ft. You couldn’t do it again – I’ve been out there and tried!”
The course, he says, has changed in the 32 years since his victory and is notably longer. But one of the main challenges for the players when the championship is played from June 24-27, will be the wispy rough.
“The grass will be waving and it will be about 18in deep. You’ll be able to see the ball and the temptation is to hit something long – and then go all over the place! You have to take your punishment and get out straight away,” said Banks, who is now a senior international.
He’ll be back to watch the finale of this year’s Brabazon – after defending his own latest title: the Welsh senior championship.
The Brabazon Trophy – or the English men’s open amateur stroke play championship – is arguably the top stroke play event in the world for amateur men.
It will attract an international entry and Major champions Sandy Lyle and Charl Schwartzel are among the past winners.
Spectators are welcome – admission will be free – and great golf is guaranteed. At last year’s Brabazon Trophy at Seaton Carew, the course record of seven-under par 66 was set in the second round, equalled twice in the final round and the winner, Ben Stow, birdied the last two holes to finish on 14-under par, one shot clear of his closest challengers.
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Image copyright Leaderboard Photography.