Local and regional golfers contesting the 29th United Insurance Barbados Open have been getting familiar with the challenging conditions presented by the Country Club course at Sandy Lane.
Players have been hitting the fairways and greens all week and course managers at Sandy Lane said they expect another busy day, tomorrow, with more than 60 players scheduled for practice rounds.
Regarded as the national championships of local golf, the three-day United Insurance Barbados Open is organised by the Barbados Golf Association (BGA) and is set to tee off Friday and conclude on Sunday.
This year marks the first time that the annual tournament is being played at the upscale Country Club at the Sandy Lane Resort, which is globally recognised as the host venue for the 2006 World Golf Championships World Cup. Twenty-four teams contested the World Cup in Barbados which was won by the German team of Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem, beating Scotland on the first play-off hole.
Director of Golf at Sandy Lane, Elvis Medford, disclosed that a major challenge for competitive golfers this weekend would be super-fast greens that will tax and test their putting skills.
“The Sandy Lane greens are faster than all others on the island. The speeds are not normal and this is mainly due to the size of the greens and the quality of the turf,” said Medford, a national player who will also be competing in the tournament.
Medford further reported that the course was in excellent condition and was being set-up for tournament play.
President of the BGA Hadley Byer said a competitive field of local and regional golfers would contest the tournament over 54 holes, at one of the best courses in the world, and most were eager to test the greens and fairways.
Chief operating officer of title sponsors United Insurance, David Alleyne, said his company was happy to partner with the Barbados Golf Association (BGA) again as the major sponsor for such an important tournament, which was also an event that presented opportunities for the expression of excellence. The United Insurance Barbados Open, he said, portrayed the attainment of the highest level of proficiency in the sport of golf in Barbados.
Cricket legends Sir Garry Sobers, also a former Barbados golfer, and Desmond Haynes are expected to compete in the tournament while defending champion and top Barbados player, James Johnson, said he was in good shape and seeking to successfully defend his crown.