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In the swing at the Open.

A GOLF retailer based in Huddersfield is "recovering" from its biggest-ever Open Championship promotion.

Direct Golf UK, which has shops at Leeds Road and the Galpharm Stadium, organised a pounds 2m giveaway at the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Anne's. During the course of the competition, the team from Direct Golf UK handed out 50,000 Union Jack caps and pounds 20 gift cards to spectators.

And at a time when the UK retail economy is suffering - with golf being hit by unprecedented levels of rainfall, which has seen the number of rounds being played drop by over 30% - Direct Golf UK teamed up with Your Golf Travel to provide a boost for the industry at the biggest event on the UK golf calendar.

John Andrew, Direct Golf UK founder and chairman, said: "As a proud British company, we see the Open Championship as a wonderful and unique opportunity for the UK golf industry to create a genuine feel-good factor that the game needs - particularly with the horrendous weather these past couple of months.

"Our promotion was extremely well-received by both spectators and many within the golf trade."

Direct Golf UK had a team of 40 to hand out the cap and gift cards to many of the 185,000 spectators who attended the competition throughout the week. The gift cards can be spent at any of Direct Golf's 21 stores nationwide, by mail order or online In total 50,000 caps and 100,000 gift cards were given out amounting to pounds 2m.

Said Mr Andrew: "The caps provided welcome relief from both the rain and sun and were not only seen all over the course, but were also picked up by the hundreds of TV cameras from the worldwide media covering the event."

Direct Golf UK also provided a fleet of double-decker buses to transport thousands of spectators to and from the course - as well as painting the town red, white and blue with lots of branding around Lytham.

Said Mr Andrew: "We've been extremely active this year at The Open and our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the UK golfing public.

"Many children used our caps to get signatures of their favourite players and others have been using the DGUK branded transport to get to and from the golf course.

"The Open is the biggest week in the golfing calendar and we want to do our bit to make it the best yet and get people buzzing about the game."

Other activities included Golf on the Beach St Anne's beach - a project aimed at increasing junior participation in the sport.

The event was Inspired by Seve Ballesteros' 1988 win at Royal Lytham and the way Seve learned to play the game on the beach in his home village of Pedrena in northern Spain.

Direct Golf UK and Your Golf Travel partnered with John Letters to promote junior golf - inviting all the local schools and clubs to participate and raise funds for The Seve Ballesteros Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

Direct Golf UK also offered free coaching on the beach front, the chance to meet celebrity golfer Sophie Horn and take part in a chipping challenge.


* ON COURSE: Direct Golf UK founder and chairman John Andrew (centre) with spectators sporting the company''s free caps at the Open Championship, where the company was giving away thousands of caps and pounds 20 gift cards to fans attending the prestigious event at Royal Lytham & St Anne's
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 31, 2012
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