Golf fans urged to be wary over hospitality packages when The Open comes to the area

Padraig Harrington, the winner when The Open last visited Carnoustie in 2007, crosses the bridge on the 18th hole.

R&A chiefs have warned golf fans not to be caught out by unofficial hospitality packages for next year’s Open at Carnoustie.

The golf body faces an ongoing battle against unscrupulous operators who they say are ripping off fans with promises which do not match up to their hype or price.

A local travel firm fears the reputation of the area and the tournament could be damaged by visitors who take up dodgy deals.

Paul Greenhill, golf tours manager of DP&L Travel, said people are regularly caught out.

“They offer what is claimed to be official hospitality on the course, but often proves to be poor quality in a poor location,” he said.

“So far this year our business has been regularly contacted by these operators, coming to us and asking if we want to buy their hospitality.

“We have the experience to know just to put the phone down but it is a hard sell and people could be persuaded to take it up.

“It is a very positive thing to have the Open back in Carnoustie. Inquiries in general are up and we expect the real heavy booking people to be just after the New Year, but this is an issue.”

While the warning comes against the backdrop of ongoing criticism of the R&A’s no readmissions policy, the fear is people cough up for something which is not what it seems and are left with a sour taste of their Angus experience.

Championships executive director for the R&A Johnnie Cole-Hamilton said: “We are taking a series of steps to advise companies in the Dundee and Angus area to be aware of these unofficial hospitality providers and not to be misled by what they are offering.”