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The Open 2020 golf championship in Sandwich: Everything you need to know including tickets and transport

By Eleanor Perkins

Today marks one year until The Open returns to Sandwich meaning the countdown to the prestigious golf championship is well and truly on.

Royal St George’s will welcome the world’s best for the 15th time in 2020 along with hundreds of thousands of spectators hungry for a taste of the action.

The major sporting event is from Sunday, July 12 to Sunday, July 19, and here's everything you need to know including how to get your hands of tickets, how best to travel and where to stay.

Hear from the club's general manager below

Darren Clarke was the winner of The Open when it was last staged at Royal St George's in 2011 Picture: Barry Goodwin
Darren Clarke was the winner of The Open when it was last staged at Royal St George's in 2011 Picture: Barry Goodwin

How do I get tickets?

Tickets for The Open 2020 went on sale on Monday, July 1 but hospitality packages starting from £350 were available before then.

To get your hands on these tickets, you have to be a member of The One Club. It is free to join (register here), although you must be at least 16 years old.

It will give you priority access, with general admission tickets going live later in the summer.

Exact tickets prices have not been released and but as a ballpark figure, one adult day ticket for this year's championship at Royal Portrush would set you back £90.

More than 181,000 people are expected to flock to Sandwich to enjoy The Open championship Picture: Barry Goodwin
More than 181,000 people are expected to flock to Sandwich to enjoy The Open championship Picture: Barry Goodwin

Director of corporate communications Mike Woodcock has revealed to KentOnline that ticket prices will be cheaper, the earlier they're bought.

He said: "We're very excited to be releasing tickets for The Open 2020 which promises to be another fantastic championship.

"With the rise in demand in golf championships, we would certainly encourage people to buy early and look out for the early price offer that we give to One Club members."

The R&A haven't divulge how many tickets are up for grabs but say they are expecting bigger crowds than 2011, which would mean more than 181,000 people.

More than 20% of stubs were sold in the first 48 hours of last year's release, with an estimated 215,000 spectators descending on the Antrim coast course.

When buying tickets remember practise days are Sunday to Wednesday with championship days from Thursday to Sunday.

The maximum number of tickets one person can buy is four.

Tens of thousands of people will travel to The Open 2020 in Sandwich via train Picture: Terry Scott
Tens of thousands of people will travel to The Open 2020 in Sandwich via train Picture: Terry Scott

Will travelling by train be easy?

Train: With tens of thousands travelling by train to the Open, a multi-million pound deal has been agreed to extend Sandwich Railway Station's platform.

It is aimed at making the Open week experience easier for both visitors and residents.

Network Rail will be extending both platforms at the Dover end of the station by 80 metres, so they can fully accommodate 12-carriage trains.

This means trains will no longer straddle the level crossing in Dover Road and cause disruption to local traffic.

The investment is also thought to mean that The Open will return to Sandwich at least three more times in the future - although this has not been confirmed.

Plans for extended platforms at Sandwich Railway Station have been approved. Picture: Terry Scott
Plans for extended platforms at Sandwich Railway Station have been approved. Picture: Terry Scott

Other permanant improvements will include a new stepped footbridge which will link the extended platforms, along with a new walkway from the extended platform 1, to the start of the field linking Sandwich Station to Royal St George’s Golf Club.

In turn, this prevents passengers from walking through residential streets such as St George's Road.

Some 15,000 passengers are expected to disembark from the extended 12-carriage trains which, according Philip Whicher, project manager for Network Rail, must be guided off the platform within eight minutes and out of the station within 12 minutes.

Provision will be made for the disabled with Southeastern working on an accessible minibus shuttle operating to and from the station. More details are expected in later months.

The extended platform at Sandwich Railway Station allows for 12 carriages
The extended platform at Sandwich Railway Station allows for 12 carriages

Station works will commence in November 2019 and are hoped to be complete by May 2020.

The station will remain in operation throughout the work, which is not expected to affect passengers from Sir Roger Manwoods and Sandwich Technology School.

KentOnline's sport reporter Steve Tervet spoke to Colin Montgomerie this week ahead of the 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

Although, there will be two weekend closures to avoid disruption for weekday commuters. A replacement bus service will operate.

The new infrastructure will be closed off to the public outside of the event.

The new second footbridge will lead straight to a field which links to Royal St George’s Golf Club
The new second footbridge will lead straight to a field which links to Royal St George’s Golf Club

Southeastern is yet to announce its adapted train timetable for the week of the event but it is expected to be made public 12 weeks before the start, which would be Sunday, April 19, 2020.

The train operator said not all trains will be made up of 12 carriages during The Open week because of limited stock.

Can I travel by car?

Yes, but if you're planning on driving to the event, be aware that there will be parking restrictions on the main routes to and from the course to support traffic flows and prevent on-street parking by spectators.

Instead, two park and ride services will be available from the north and south of Sandwich with capacity for 10,000 cars.

This is expected to reduce the number of cars parked locally to the venue by 50% compared to 2011.

The location of the park and ride sites has not been revealed yet but possible sites are in Tilmanstone and Manston.

There will be a strict no re-admittance policy for spectators at The Open 2020 Picture: Terry Scott
There will be a strict no re-admittance policy for spectators at The Open 2020 Picture: Terry Scott

The Ancient Highway will be 'tidal-flow' between Deal and Sandwich.

This means it will be one-way northbound for inbound traffic (likely to be from 6am and 2pm) and change to one-way southbound for exiting traffic (likely between 2pm and 10pm).

Ash Road will be maintained as a local access route with 'no Championship traffic' signposted in this direction to allow local residents to go about their day with as little disruption as possible.

A transport plan will be developed with car stickers for locals nearby. Householders will be contacted about this individually by letter during the spring of 2020.

More detailed information on exact restrictions and routes will be available in spring 2020.

Spectators are encouraged to take a re-usable water bottle into The Open Picture: Barry Goodwin
Spectators are encouraged to take a re-usable water bottle into The Open Picture: Barry Goodwin

Can I leave the site during the day?

There is a strict no re-admission policy for spectators in place by the R&A at The Open 2020.

This is believed to be due to problems with unofficial hospitality providers operating outside the site.

Once inside the tournament, a wide selection of food and drink will be available from The Open Village. There will also be a shop.

The Open 2020 is promoting the removal of single use plastics and will allow spectators to take in a re-usable flask Picture: Thinkstock
The Open 2020 is promoting the removal of single use plastics and will allow spectators to take in a re-usable flask Picture: Thinkstock

Can I take my own food and drink?

Spectators can take their own food and drink into The Open, excluding alcohol. All bags may be subject to search.

Following the success of The Open Water initiative at Royal Portrush 2019, spectators will, again, be encouraged to take in their own re-usable drinks flask.

Alternatively, a limited number of special edition reusable stainless steel bottles will be available for fans to buy.

Water refilling stations available around the site.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said, “The Open has a close relationship with nature and the coastal system of the world’s finest links courses and it is important that we safeguard them for future generations.

“We have all learned so much of the destructive impact of plastic in the world’s oceans and we believe we have to take steps to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from The Open in order to encourage fans and players to use alternative and more sustainable materials.”

Hotels like the The Royal Hotel in Deal become quickly booked up but locals also rent out their homes
Hotels like the The Royal Hotel in Deal become quickly booked up but locals also rent out their homes

Where can I stay?

Demand can be high for accommodation, so much so that many pubs and hotels, especially in the immediate vicinity, reported to be fully booked before the official announcement was made public.

Therefore many residents in Sandwich and neighbouring towns like Deal, Dover and Canterbury choose to rent out their homes out.

In previous years, Colebrook Sturrock was appointed by the R&A as the sole official letting agent for the championship.

The agent is still dedicating a separate page of its website to properties available during the event however this year the R&A is also running its own page with a full list of properties available.

Sir Roger Manwood's school will shut for the week while the event is staged
Sir Roger Manwood's school will shut for the week while the event is staged

Will local schools be open?

Both secondary schools in the town - Sir Roger Manwood's and Sandwich Technology School - will close for the week while the event is staged.

But Sandwich Infant and Junior schools will remain open.

Headteachers will be provided with information about the local traffic plan to share with parents.

Sandwich Technology School will also close to pupils during The Open 2020
Sandwich Technology School will also close to pupils during The Open 2020

How will Sandwich residents be affected?

One drop-in session to help residents keep up to date with plans for The Open 2020 and how they might be affected has already taken place.

It was held at Sandwich Guildhall with representatives from the R&A, Dover District Council, Kent County Council, Network Rail, Southeastern available to answer questions.

Two more sessions will be conducted in January and April 2020.

The community will be invited to two more drop-in sessions to find out more about The Open 2020 in Sandwich
The community will be invited to two more drop-in sessions to find out more about The Open 2020 in Sandwich

The impact of The Open on residents will not only be during the tournament but before and after.

It will take five months to build and de-rig the stage and facilities required.

This will start in April and conclude in August.

DDC Cllr Nigel Collor at the first of three drop-in sessions for residents
DDC Cllr Nigel Collor at the first of three drop-in sessions for residents

Residents worried about how The Open will affect their refuse collection will be informed of any changes.

If your collection day falls on a championship day (Thursday to Sunday) collection may be made earlier in the day or on a alternative day.

Residents should be aware that enhanced street cleansing will be carried out during the event.

Some roads will require permits but each household will be contacted individually by letter during the spring of 2020.

Bin collections may be altered during The Open 2020 Picture: Keith Heppell
Bin collections may be altered during The Open 2020 Picture: Keith Heppell

Will the Guildhall Forecourt works be completed in time for The Open?

Sandwich Town Council had outlined plans to transform the Guildhall Forecourt in time for the Open.

The approved £1million+ transformation includes resurfacing along with the installation of a new bus shelter, seating, water fountain and lighting and is aimed to transform the town for tourists.

But It is still not known if the modernisation will go ahead in time for The Open due to a lack of funding.

The Sandwich forecourt re-design which may or may not go ahead in time for The Open 2020
The Sandwich forecourt re-design which may or may not go ahead in time for The Open 2020

However many other efforts have been made to make the town more attractive ahead of the championship.

Sandwich in Bloom launched a programme to beautify to town with floral displays.

Residents referred to the town as a 'ghost town' during the last Open and so this year are working to encourage more people to visit.

Sandwich in Bloom launched a three-year project to make the town more attractive ahead of The Open 2020
Sandwich in Bloom launched a three-year project to make the town more attractive ahead of The Open 2020

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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