Sports Listings: Plan Ahead - Golf: Open Championship, Royal St George's, Sandwich, Kent

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The Independent Online
WATCHING Nick Faldo lift the famous claret jug for the third time in four years might appear too fanciful a notion, but whoever wins this year's Open championship at Sandwich, the golf will continue to offer the spectator excellent value for money.

Entrance tickets for this year's Open, from 15 to 18 July at the links course on Sandwich Bay in Kent, can be bought in advance from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club up to 25 June or purchased on the day at Sandwich. Open Championships rarely close their gates, so entry is possible, even for the final round on Sunday. There is a pounds 10 reduction on the season ticket if bought before 30 April.

Reserved seats on the 18th green for the week are still available, but there is a public grandstand on the final green and a total of 14,000 free seats around the course.

Most of the hotel accommodation in the Sandwich area is booked years in advance of the Open, but there will be space farther afield in Ashford, Canterbury and Maidstone. The Tourist Information Centre in Dover can assist with bed and breakfast accommodation. For self-catering and renting private property, contact the official agents, G W Finn and Sons, of Canterbury.

There is plenty of parking for the Open. Follow the signs through Sandwich to the course on the Deal road.

British Rail's Network SouthEast will be again operating its Golflink service, which combines rail travel, bus connection to course and admission, and three options are available. The basic Golflink from London Cannon Street costs pounds 36.50 for an adult return ticket. The top option, costing pounds 75 per person, is a charter from London Victoria direct to Sandwich and includes breakfast on the outward journey and dinner on the return to London. Those who already have golf tickets can deduct the pounds 20 from the price of this option.

Open Championship, Royal St George's, Sandwich, Kent.

Practice 12-14 July, Open 15-18 July.

Final qualifying 11 and 12 July at nearby golf courses: Littlestone, North Foreland, Prince's and Royal Cinque Ports, Deal.

Admission: Daily tickets: Practice days pounds 10 adults, pounds 5 juveniles (under 18)/OAPs. Open pounds 20, pounds 10. Season ticket (entry to course for the week): pounds 70 if purchased before 30 April, pounds 80 from 1 May. 18th green reserved seat: pounds 80 (valid for week, but does not include admission). Car Parking: reserved for week pounds 22 (available only in advance); daily (payable on arrival): Monday 12 July pounds 2, Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 pounds 6. Composite ticket (valid for week and includes entry, reserved seat on 18th green and use of private Clubtent): pounds 260 (with car park), pounds 240 (excluding parking). Advance Ticket Sales, Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews, Fife. (Tel: 0334-72112).

Open Championship Hospitality facilities 0334-75564.

Tourist Information Centre, Townhall Street, Dover, Kent CT16 1JR. (Tel: 0304- 205108). Self-catering accommodation: G W Finn and Sons, Brooklands, Fordwich, Canterbury CT2 0BS (Tel: 0227-710200).

British Rail Network SouthEast Golflink 071- 626 1671 (9am-4.30pm Monday to Friday).