Golf’s governing body has been criticised for failure to axe its ‘no re-admissions’ policy at next year’s Open in Carnoustie.
The policy was introduced at this year’s Open at Royal Birkdale and Angus Council pursued the issue with the R&A after concerns were raised that businesses in Carnoustie would suffer if the policy was retained next year.
The R&A said the admissions policy has been “reviewed and updated” after being assessed following the conclusion of the tournament and fans “will not be permitted to re-enter the venue after leaving Carnoustie”.
The golf authority said the no re-admissions policy was among steps being taken “to protect golf fans from the mis-selling of tickets and hospitality products by unofficial operators” at Carnoustie.
Carnoustie Community Development Trust (CCDT) will approach the business community and other local groups and stakeholders “to explore what we can do together to make up for the no re-admissions policy”.
CCDT chairman Derek Miller said: “It is, indeed, disappointing that the R&A have decided to repeat the no re-admissions policy when the Open returns to Carnoustie next year.
“Local businesses will be disappointed by the lack of opportunity to benefit from the Open spectators while the play is on each day, but that just makes it all the more important that we explore and exploit every other benefit we can extract.”
He said there are also investigations under way into what can be done to make sure that “spectators have a reason to linger in Carnoustie for a while at the end of each day’s play”.
Carnoustie Independent councillor David Cheape suggested the policy goes against the R&A’s emphasis on “encouraging junior golf”.
He said: “Despite arguing the case against the policy of no re-admittance to the venue once you leave, I am disappointed that the outcome appears to be exactly that; that those visiting the Open 2018 at Carnoustie will not be allowed to re-enter if they choose to leave the course and tented village venue at any time to spend some time taking advantage of Carnoustie’s retail offer or the many food and beverage establishments that exist in town and who have been looking forward to this event for some time.
“Similarly, Carnoustie’s own residents cannot spend an entire day at the venue while maybe popping home for lunch, or parents with young children who might wish to take their family along to the golf in the morning and return themselves in the afternoon will be unable to do so. How does that promote golf to youngsters?”
Conservative MSP for the North East region, Bill Bowman, said it was disappointing the R&A were sticking “with a policy which may reduce the obvious financial benefits to the wider town”.
He said: “I don’t believe that is in the spirit of helping the community you play in.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said it was “an absolute priority” to protect customers from rogue hospitality operators and the misselling of tickets.
He said: “We will be working with the local authorities including Angus Council to ensure that fraud prevention measures are in place and that local businesses are made aware so that they don’t fall victim to mis-selling practices.
“The no readmission policy introduced at Royal Birkdale last year also proved an effective deterrent to these unofficial operators and was well received by more than 235,000 spectators who attended the Championship.”