AN AMAZING golf-themed art structure will dominate the Southport skyline ahead of The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
With the Championship now just a week away, The R&A and Sefton Council have joined forces to engage with the local community and the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to the borough for the tournament.
The Hole in One was unveiled today at The Atkinson in Southport town centre, adjacent to the Town Hall. Standing over 10 metres tall and five metres wide – covering the entire height of The Atkinson façade – it is inspired by every golfer’s dream: a hole in one.
Four giant golf clubs replicating the motion of a swing are placed at the top of the building, with 20 golf balls depicting the trajectory of the ball into a hole at ground level. It’s hoped the piece of art will be a talking point and will prove a popular spot for selfies and snapshots by visitors and local residents.
The artwork was created by Wild Creations, who have also hit the headlines with their Rugby World Cup Ball in the Wall artwork and the UEFA Champions League Dragon, which perched atop the Cardiff Castle to welcome European football’s premier club competition to the Millennium Stadium.
The Hole in One is just one of many activities in Southport to herald the staging of The 146th Open.
Already the fast-selling Open to date, around 200,000 supporters are expected to attend Championship week. From Saturday until the tournament’s final day on the 23rd, Southport will be running a fantastic free ‘Summer of Golf’ event.
With interactive golf activities, golf exhibitions and lots more it will be a great place to spend some time, whether you’re a seasoned golfer or new to the game. It will centre around the Town Hall Gardens and The Atkinson, right in the heart of the town.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director of Championships at The R&A, said: “We are delighted that Sefton Council have commemorated the return of The Open to Royal Birkdale with such an impressive mural in the iconic Town Hall Gardens. The Open is the one they all want to win and we are delighted that golf fans and local residents alike can celebrate the Championship coming back to Southport.
“We have no doubt it will prove a popular tourist attraction throughout The Open for people of all ages and with The R&A offering free tickets to Royal Birkdale for all children under-16, we are confident watching the world’s top golfers can leave a lasting legacy in the area.”
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The hole in one artwork is a great spectacle and a great way to mark the onset of the prestigious Championship.
“We are expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sefton along with millions watching on TV for the Championship and the hole in one artwork is one of many initiatives planned to ensure everyone leaves our amazing borough with a great memory of The 146th Open.
“Please get behind the Championship and really put Sefton in the global spotlight.”
Matt Wild, Wild Creations Director, said: “It was an honour to be invited to work with Sefton Council to create a build for The Open.
“We knew that for such a prestigious event we would have to go big and so jointly we came up with the design of a supersize structure that couldn’t fail to catch the eye.
“Our main goal was to create a static structure that had a sense of movement and for us the key really was in the detail so over a period of weeks every dimple of every golf ball was hand crafted with the finishing touch of the Sefton Council logo really bringing the sculpture to life.”
Adult and Youth (16-24) tickets are available to purchase for the 146th Open. Visit TheOpen.com/tickets for full details.