Louis Bierlein previews a big event…
Golf is coming to east London as Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park gets set to host the UK Cross Golf Open on May 15.
The event has the backing of Mayor of London Boris Johnson and will be run in partnership with Shoreditch Golf Club.
For the UK’s top cross golfers the event promises to be a major fixture as success in the competition will secure one of 12 places in the UK’s European Urban Golf Cup team.
The EUGC will take place at the same venue the following day, so there will be no respite for the eventual winner of the UK Open.
This year, the British team are aiming to take the EUGC title away from the Germans who won last year’s contest in Cologne.
The Olympic legacy is a topic that has been widely discussed within the realms of British politics and sport and organisers hope that by staging this event at the Olympic Park, they will be able to promote the legacy of the Olympic in the wider sporting world.
Golf played no part during London 2012. However, it has been added to the bill for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Cross golf is slightly different and provides participants with different challenges across the course. Played on a variety of courses, including a diverse range of urban landscapes, cross golf has the potential to bring a traditionally middle-class, etiquette-heavy sport to a new generation of enthusiastic, urban youngsters.
With no regulations on shoes or jersey patterns, cross golf aims to market itself as a more laid-back sport, appropriate for a wide range of new players, breaking down class and gender boundaries.
Comparable forms of golf are popular throughout the world, though the sport is just gaining popularity in Britain. The rules are more-or-less the same, although the equipment required is slightly tweaked for use on different terrains.