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The 154th Open golf tournament will return to Southport in 2026

11 months ago

The 154th Open golf tournament will return to Southport in 2026
Royal Birkdale, Southport

Business leaders in Southport have hailed the announcement that The Open golf championship is returning to Southport.

The 154th Open will be played at Royal Birkdale in Southport from 12 -19 July 2026.

It is a welcome return for one of the biggest events in sport, which is currently taking place at Royal Liverpool.

The prestigious event is a huge opportunity for the local economy, both when the tournament takes place, and as an opportunity to showcase Southport and the surrounding area to the rest of the world.

Hotels, guest houses, restaurants, shops, and other local businesses are already seeing the benefits, with bookings flooding in since the announcement was made earlier this month.

The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022 generated over £300 million in economic benefit for Scotland, according to an independent study commissioned by The R&A, VisitScotland and Fife Council, a figure that Southport is keen to emulate.

The historic Championship provided a total economic impact of £106 million to Scotland – new money entering the economy – according to the study conducted by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC).

Independent research led by YouGov Sport also shows that £201 million of destination marketing benefit was delivered for Scotland, the Home of Golf, as a result of The Open being broadcast worldwide through linear television and digital platforms.

The total economic benefit delivered last year is the highest in the history of the Championship. 

There is huge potential for Southport. The last time The Open (the 146th) was held at Royal Birkdale, in 2017, the R&A announced the attendance was a bumper 235,000, which was then the third-highest figure of all time.

Only the Opens held at St Andrews in 2010 and 2015 had previously attracted a larger crowd, making that week in Southport a record attendance for the showpiece event at an English venue.

Martin Slumbers, CEO of The R&A, said:

 “The 150th Open was a historic occasion for golf which has generated a substantial economic benefit for Scotland thanks to a record-breaking attendance at St Andrews and tens of millions of fans worldwide who watched the Championship broadcast.”

Business owners in Southport are hoping for a similar boost in 2026.

Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group owns several quality venues in the town including The Grand, the Bold Hotel, the Lord Street Hotel, the Lord Street Sports Bar, Punch Tarmey’s Irish themed bar and the Maverick’s Top Gun themed bar, which opened earlier this year.

MHALG Chairman Andrew Mikhail said: 

“The Open Golf returning to Royal Birkdale is a massive opportunity for Southport.

“Hopefully it will be a big boost for many local businesses in a variety of different sectors.

“We are really looking forward to it!

“With places like the Bold Hotel and the Lord Street Hotel we have some really top quality places for golfers and golf fans to stay, and that is what Southport does well.

“We need more top quality hotel accommodation in this town, especially for big events like The Open, and with the new Marine Lake Events Centre due to open soon.”

Guest Houses and B&Bs in Southport are also looking forward to the tournament taking place.

Anthony and Larissa Duffey own the Sunnyside Guest House, on Bath Street in Southport town centre, which was recently recognised as the third best in the country at this year’s VisitEngland Awards.

Sunnyside won the Bronze Award in the 2023 B&B and Guest House of the Year category in June. Earlier this year they won the B&B and Guest House of the Year Awards in the 2023 Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards, which they also won in 2022.

Anthony and Larissa Duffey said:

 “We are delighted by the exciting news of The Open’s return to Royal Birkdale in 2026, bringing a significant economic impact to Southport and the wider city region.

“This event promises a substantial boost to local businesses throughout The Open week.

“Moreover, the lasting legacy of hosting The Open extends to attracting international golf tourists who will flock to Southport in the years leading up to the championship and after witnessing the course on television.

“This prestigious event firmly establishes England’s Golf Coast and Southport as an exceptional golfing destination on the global map.

“It also coincides with the year the new Conference and Events Centre opens so it looks like 2026 is going to be an exciting year for Southport!”

Royal Birkdale has previously hosted The Open on ten occasions, the last of which was in 2017 when Jordan Spieth emerged victorious in a memorable final round duel with Matt Kuchar to lift the Claret Jug for the first time.

The American joined a celebrated roll of Champion Golfers at Royal Birkdale, including Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Mark O’Meara and Padraig Harrington.

Andrew Maxwell, Captain of Royal Birkdale and Chairman of the Championship Committee, said: 

“We are thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as the host venue for The Open in 2026. Royal Birkdale Golf Club has a rich history with The Open having hosted it ten times previously.

“We look forward to welcoming the world’s best golfers to our magnificent course and providing them with a true test of links golf. The Club is already working hard to ensure that The Open in 2026 will be an unforgettable event for players, spectators and fans around the globe.”

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: 

“We are delighted that Royal Birkdale and Sefton will once again be the stage for this fantastic global golf Championship.

“Combining accommodation, food and drink, leisure facilities and transport links, millions of pounds will be spent in the local economy in the run-up to and during the Championship which is hugely wonderful news.

“The Open is very much a family event and we are expecting thousands of people of all ages to enjoy the Championship and all the excellent facilities Southport and Sefton have to offer.”

For more news in Southport click HERE.

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