Golf resort bids to host Cup contest

A HOTEL and golf resort near Scunthorpe is bidding to host the Solheim Cup, the most prestigious team event in women's golf and the female equivalent of the Ryder Cup.

Forest Pines has been chosen by UK Sport as its bidding venue for the 2015 competition, which if successful would be the first course in England to host the event.

It would trigger an estimated 35m boost for the economy, create 15,000 jobs, and, it is hoped, fill hotels from Hull to Harrogate, with 100,000 visitors expected to during the week of play.

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The ambassador for the bid is Tony Jacklin, the Scunthorpe-born golfer who was Europe's most successful Ryder Cup captain.

Jacklin, the most successful British player of his generation, will redesign the Forest Pines course for the Solheim Cup if the bid succeeds.

Michael Purtill, managing director of QHotels, which owns Forest Pines, said: "We are incredibly proud to be bidding for this event.

"It is very clear that the decision, which could bring 35m into the local economy, will have a positive legacy not only for Forest Pines, but for the North Lincolnshire region.

"The Forest Pines Hotel and Golf Resort is easily accessible from a number of major cities in the UK, and we are confident that we can provide a world class experience for all of our visitors should the bid be successful.

"Based on previous tournament figures, we anticipate around 25,000 to 30,000 visitors per day to the course. This kind of crowd would fill the

local accommodation base for around 75 miles, benefiting hoteliers across the region, including Forest Pines' sister hotels The Queens in Leeds, Tankersley Manor, near Sheffield, and Aldwark Manor Spa and Golf Hotel, near York.

"Fifteen thousand jobs would be created, and we will be looking for around 850 volunteers for the event, so you can see the broad ranging significance that the Solheim Cup could have."

Forest Pines is competing against world famous golf resorts such as La Manga in Spain, and venues in Austria, France, Germany and Portugal for the honour.

The North Lincolnshire resort boasts a 27 hole championship golf course and is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful courses in the country.

If successful, Forest Pines, an 188-bedroom hotel set in 190 acres of countryside, will invest more than 500,000 into developing its course and seek to establish itself as a world-class destination for sport, business and culture.

Chris Cottam, regional director at QHotels, adds further weight to the bid, having hosted the 1996 Solheim Cup at St Pierre in Wales – and competed as a player in the 1979 British Open at Royal Lytham, won by Seve Ballesteros.

He said: "This would bring 15,000 bed nights to hotels in York, Harrogate, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. Yorkshire is going to play a big part and would benefit greatly.

"I'm amazed at how many people have got behind it all, it's a bit overwhelming really."

The event would be watched by an estimated 379 million households in 80 countries.

A final decision on which nation will host the competition is expected early next year.