This year The Brabazon Trophy will be played at Seaton Carew GC (pictured), Co. Durham, from the 25th to 28th of June, when 144 competitors will vie for the title over the old rolling links, having already passed through one of two qualifying matches to be there.
The Brabazon Trophy or to give it its official name, the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship, was first played at Birkdale in 1947.
The Championship carries with it a high degree of prestige all around the world for the player holding the title.
In keeping with its status as England’s blue riband event along with the English Amateur Championship, the Brabazon has always been played over the most prestigious English courses. Royal Birkdale and Hunstanton have played host on five occasions each, while the event has visited Ganton, Woodhall Spa, Moortown, Hollinwell, Royal Liverpool and Saunton.
For the second time in the Club’s history Seaton Carew has been chosen to host the Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. The Brabazon Trophy became the popular name after 1948 when the present trophy was donated by Lord Brabazon of Tara, a pioneer aviator, Member of Parliament, accomplished golfer and captain of the R&A in 1952/53.
Seaton Carew, one of the stars of the 2-FORE!-1 (Mondays only) scheme, first staged the Championship in 1985, when the Champion was a young Peter Baker, who went on to play in the Walker Cup going on to the European tour and then tasting success in the Ryder Cup.
Other past winners of the Brabazon Trophy are Sandy Lyle, Gordon Brand Jr., Ronan Rafferty, Peter McEvoy.
Golf has been played at Seaton Carew for around 140 years, with the first written records of the Club dating from 1874. The Club is one of the 50 oldest golf clubs in the world and one of the few true links course on the English East coast.
In the mid 1920’s the Club called upon the services of Dr Alister MacKenzie, who went on to create such masterpieces as Augusta and Cypress Point. He advised them to replace some of the inland holes with new holes on sandier soil towards the coast, and it’s that 1925 layout which forms the basis of today’s Old Course.
In the 1970s, under the direction of one of the day’s most notable course designers, Frank Pennick, four more holes were added to become known as the Brabazon loop and now form part of the main championship course layout.
Following a visit in 1937 by the winner of 11 major championships, Walter Hagen, he was quoted as remarking: “It is a splendid course. Personally I am very fond of seaside links. They are natural and provide very interesting and varied types of holes. The Seaton links are very well groomed, the greens lovely, and the fairways and lies good.”