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Fulford Golf Club

Could the European Tour return to Fulford?

The York club was a mainstay of the professional game for more than two decades – and they’ve not shut the door on returning to the big stage in the future
 

Their fairways were once walked by the giants of the game: Seve, Norman, Trevino and Faldo. Could Fulford Golf Club return to the European Tour stage once again?

The York club staged a top professional tier event for 23 consecutive years from the 1970s to the 1990s as the Benson & Hedges Festival of Golf, International Open and Murphy’s Cup brought the world’s stars to the historic city.

Fulford are preparing to host their third R&A Girls’ Under-16 Amateur Championship in April and the spotlight will fall on the prestigious Under-18s equivalent next year.

fulford golf club

While their main target is to become an Open qualifying venue, general manager Jon Dry said the club would not be averse to hosting another professional tournament if the situation ever arose.

“Fulford has this history of holding more than 20 years of European Tour events,” he explained. “Would we able to hold one again? The golf course is certainly up to it. You’d have to make some structural changes but, being in a city like York, it’s certainly very possible. We have everything we would need on our doorstep.”

With very few tournaments staged in England, only the British Masters, which has successfully rotated around clubs since its return to the calendar in 2015, would seem a viable option.

“The first priority is with the R&A,” Dry continued when asked if a European Tour tournament was an ambition for the club.

“We’ve been very fortunate and are going into our third year of holding the Under-16 Girls’ this year. We are also very excited to be holding the U18 Girls’ in 2021, which is a huge honour. The more you look into it, the more you understand how prestigious a tournament that is. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the competitors to Fulford.

“Having done four years of the girls’ events, we’d love to see a men’s – and particularly a professional – tournament here.

“It would be brilliant to hold Open qualifying and we have included this in our strategic plan.

‘That would be something I would be very honoured to achieve, being able to include the Claret Jug on marketing material would be a huge honour for all involved, trying to get Fulford back on the map as a championship venue, not just for girls but also for professional male events. That would be a great achievement.”

Dry admitted “all the ducks” would need to line up before the European Tour returned to Fulford, adding Open qualifying was a more realistic goal.

He added: “If there was an opportunity where we were approached to hold a European Tour event then, obviously, that would be fantastic.

“The club isn’t in a position where we could throw money at attracting such an event. It would be a case of needing it to arrive on your doorstep, selling the Fulford story and snapping it up.”

Fulford is one of the stops this year on NCG’s Top 100s tour. Find out more and enter here

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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