It's most golfers' worst nightmare but fans, course officials and even players at The Open have been queuing up to get stuck in golf's most notorious bunker. As the 140th Open Championship swings into life more than 3,000 enthusiasts chose to take on the fearsome St Andrews Road Hole bunker which has been stunningly recreated at the HSBC Golf Zone.
Almost one third of Wednesday's spectators lined up to try their luck
including Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and a host of golf fans
from all over the world.
The HSBC Golf Zone - built to celebrate HSBC's first year as Patron of
the Open Championship - is the first experiential golf zone of its kind
and scale in the UK and covers an area equivalent to almost five tennis
courts in the Tented Village.
The Road Hole Bunker was recreated by Royal St George's green keeper Sean McLean.
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC commented: "When you
think about it we are here in Kent for The Open Championship but there
are twenty times as many people playing St Andrews than Royal St
George's - there's 156 out on the course and over 3,000 in the HSBC Golf
Zone. This really demonstrates how much golfers love a challenge. The
numbers are more than we dared to hope for and the feedback we have
received has been fantastic.
"We are very grateful to the R&A for their vision and help in
creating this area for the first time at an Open Championship, utilising
their golf knowledge to allow us to offer visitors to Sandwich a truly
interactive experience. Having been involved in golf since 2002, we
underpin all our programmes around the world with a desire to bring the
game to life and to grow the game at a grass roots level and the HSBC
Golf Zone represents all that we have learnt over the years from our
After escaping - or otherwise - the confines of the Road Hole bunker,
visitors have been enjoying the Longest Drive and Nearest the Pin
competitions on the Tri-Screen Golf Simulator and comparing their swings
to those of the best golfers with the help of FlightScope, the latest
in tracking technology, while younger spectators are honing their golf
and gaming skills in the Children's Zone.
Information Pods featuring the iPad2, video walls and touch screen
televisions are available throughout the HSBC Golf Zone containing
everything a fan would wish to know about their favourite players, past
A Heritage section demonstrates that while pressing buttons and touching
screens is one way of getting a feel for the history of the game,
wrapping hands around the kind of hickory-shafted clubs used in the days
of Old Tom Morris is another, highlighting how the manufacture of golf
clubs has changed across the last 300 years.
Those who would like to see our Open Championship links courses asking
tougher questions of the players are enjoying the unique opportunity to
design their own Open course. Finally, the Nikon Photo Experience is
proving to be extremely popular with visitors embracing the chance to
don a "Champion Caddie" bib and stand next to one of the best players in
the world - for a memory ready to take away within 60 seconds.