Trade leaders have given a huge welcome to the news Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club is to host the Women’s British Open in 2018.
The greatest players in the world will assemble at the iconic Links Gate venue to compete for the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Championship was last in town in 2009, attracting thousands of visitors to the area.
Arnold Sumner, of St Annes Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s really good news; wonderful for the town.
“It’ll be very good for trade with cafes and restaurants laying on evening entertainment.
“We’ve gone a long way to provide extra car parking for events, with space for 400 cars now on the green next to the Beach Terrace Cafe when we need it.
“It’ll be great to welcome the ladies to the Championship.
“The town will be quiet in the day when they are all on the course, but in the evenings, St Annes will come to life.
“Personally, I hope this time when the commentators are talking on the television, they don’t just refer to being at Royal Lytham...it’s in St Annes!
“And when The Open came last, we improved St Annes train station and made preparations to welcome visitors, but they stopped trains at Ansdell to increase the frequency along the line. I hope trains come to St Annes this time.”
Denize Ashton, of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: “The announcement is welcomed by traders in Lytham, as is any sporting or other event that highlights the facilities and attractions of the area.
“Apart from the numbers of people it will bring in, which will be of advantage mainly to our night time economy, it has been proven that some of these people return at another time to explore further.
“I will be pushing for local traders to celebrate the event in some way.”
The club has hosted 11 Open Championships, the most recent was The Open in 2012, won by South Africa’s Ernie Els.
Charles Grimley, secretary at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club, said, “Our membership is very excited to welcome back another Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“It is a tournament with a very special feel to it which I suspect is largely thanks to the wonderfully engaging personalities on the women’s tours. This will be very popular news in the area and we will all look forward to 2018 very much.”
Trish Wilson, chairman of the Ladies’ Golf Union’s, added: “Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club is a very popular venue among the players and we are very happy to be returning there for a fifth time in 2018. Our commitment is to ensure the Championship is held at Britain’s best courses and there is no doubt that Royal Lytham lives up to this criteria.”
The Championship was last played there in 2009 when Catriona Matthew famously became the first Scottish woman to clinch a major title, remarkably only 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter.