Masters hero tees off in golf tourism drive

REIGNING US Masters champion Danny Willett has swung into action to back a plan to put Yorkshire's world famous fairways at the heart of a new nationwide golf tourism campaign.

Sheffield's Danny Willett after winning the US Masters.

The Sheffield-born player, who will make his Ryder Cup debut shortly, believes initiatives by Golf Tourism England can only enhance the sport’s rich legacy in this county.

As well as courses in this region hosting the Ryder Cup, and also the Walker Cup for amateur players in the past, Yorkshire has produced a number of top professionals – including 28-year-old Willett who became the first British player since Sir Nick Faldo to conquer Augusta’s contours.

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The initiative will see special golf trails created featuring clusters of courses in each of Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield – the objective is visitors stay in each centre for several days and combine their golf with top class hospitality.

Sheffield's Danny Willett after winning the US Masters.

Such schemes have been success in Scotland, the traditional home of golf, and there are hopes that Yorkshire can yield a significant economic dividend from promotional initiatives.

Funding has come from the Government via VisitEngland, with Willett saying: “It is a Champagne era for golf in England and I think it is a great move from the Government to invest in positioning the country in the minds of international golfers.

“There is an abundance of great courses that, together, create a match for the very best golf destinations in the world.”

VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “Golf tourism is a fast-growing and competitive sector of the tourism industry.”

Sheffield's Danny Willett after winning the US Masters.