As the Champagne corks popped in the wake of Europe’s latest Ryder Cup triumph, there was bumper cause for celebration in Fylde, too.
The glory of Gleneagles coincided with a landmark date and notable statistic for the St Annes seafront Mini-Links – and a particularly loud cheer went up locally when Martin Kaymer sunk his crucial final day putt.
For Martin is among the most famous of the 50,000 visitors who have played the Mini-Links since its management was taken on by current boss Andy Tracey three years ago – and Andy has been eagerly keeping a close eye on the astounding exploits of the German ace ever since.
Kaymer played the Mini-Links after his second round at The Open at nearby Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012 and just a few weeks later delighted everyone at the seafront course by sinking the winning putt as Europe retained the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.
Last weekend, with his stock having risen further as reigning US Open champion, Kaymer again played a key role for Europe with a vital final day put as they won again in Perthshire – and Andy and his team at the Mini-Links almost took the roof off the booking office there as they cheered the ball all the way into the hole.
“What a brilliant weekend,” said Andy. “Another Ryder Cup triumph for Europe with Martin playing a key role and it coincided with our third anniversary managing the course on behalf of Fylde Council and our 50,000th player on the course.”
The success of the Mini-Links means that the agreement for Andy to run the course on Fylde’s behalf has been extended for three more years and he said: “We never imagined we would reach 50,000 so quickly so thanks to everyone who has supported us.”
Along with Kaymer, American aces Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley were among the stars who played the Mini-Links while they were in town for The Open in 2012 and Andy said: “They were all full of praise for the course and we are very proud of it.
“I remember that Martin in particular mentioned the quality of the greens and thanks to groundsman John Peet that is something we feel is a specially great aspect of the course.”
A Fylde Council spokesman said: “Andy and his team have taken a formerly council-run pitch and putt and made it into something special. He has run a number of successful events there, including the involvement of golf pros from the Open and has even started a website. It is a first-class facility on the sea front and I urge people to make good use of it.”
Facilities at the course include free coaching for juniors and details are available from www.MiniLinks.uk or 07964 277757.