At The Open Championship – running at Royal Liverpool Golf Club until Sunday (July 20) visitors are being given the option to entertain – or be entertained – a the Champion’s Club.
And from the moment the restaurant opened its doors at the practice day on July 16, guests were already heralding it a winner.
The new option offers a deli menu with favourites such as burgers, pies and substantial sandwiches – but all served with a fine dining flair.
Food is prepared freshly to order from a central station, with guests able to graze throughout the day.
Desserts, named “All The Fun of The Fair”, offers a buffet table full of sweet treats including tiny cones of toffee cinnamon popcorn, chocolate “lollipops” and miniature toffee apples. The new Champion’s Club can entertain up to 650 guests and visitors on the first day said they were “blown away” by the offer.
Lucy and Dave Gould from South Wales were among the many diners on the first day of the championship who sampled the menu.
“The food has been fantastic,” said Dave. “We were spoilt for choice but went for the burger, which was superb. It was definitely like no other burger we’ve ever had before.”
The creation of the Champion’s Club was a joint initiative between The Open Hospitality and The R&A, which runs the championship.
Having seen the success of a similar operation in America for the PGA golf tour, the aim was to emulate it in the UK.
Ben Dutson, Executive Head Chef at The Open, believes this kind of offering is the future of hospitality.
“This is the way I believe hospitality will be moving forward, with visitors being able to choose less formal entertainment options but still with gourmet food,” he said. “The Champion’s Club is a new model in hospitality but it has been so well received that it’s something we will definitely repeat.”
Guests opting for the Champion’s Club use the facility throughout the day, starting off with a light breakfast and ending with afternoon tea, with use of an exclusive terrace bar where there is the option to watch the action on big screens.
The Champion’s Club is one of a number of hospitality areas which operate from a tented village close to the 16th hole, including The Gallery Restaurant, 1860 Club and Premier Suites.