Wolstenholme ready to take on Moscow
August 16, 2018
Gary Wolstenholme is preparing himself for ‘a test of golf' at Moscow Country Club with the VTB Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) set to get under way on Friday.
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The Staysure Tour returns to Russian soil this week for the first time in four years following the re-introduction of the event to the Tour's International Schedule. The venue, Moscow Country Club, recently became European Tour Properties' 28 th Destination, joining a world class network of venues across the globe.
And Wolstenhome, a three-time winner on the Staysure Tour, has played Moscow Country Club on two previous occasions and he is relishing the chance to tackle a course which he believes is in better condition than ever.
“This is the third time I've been here and I've become more impressed with the golf course as I've played it,” said Wolstenholme. “I think the golf course is definitely in a lot better condition than when we were here three or four years ago.
“The weather's been very difficult, so the green staff have had to work very hard to make this such a good venue. The design of the golf course is an extremely good test.
“It's long and it creates a test for players to play both right-to-left and left-to-right shots which, if you're a golfer, you appreciate that creates more of a test in itself.
“I think the course lends itself to long hitting, especially with the weather that we had last night as the course is pretty long anyway.
“Magnus P Atlevi, Stephen Dodd, Phil Price, from Wales, and Phil Golding, who won at London Golf Club recently, all stand out to me as having a chance to do well, but golf being golf, who knows? I might even do well! It's such a good test, I think only a very good player will do well here.”
Golf is an emerging sport in Russia and Moscow Country Club is at the forefront of the quest to encourage more of the country's natives to start playing.
Wolstenhome, GB&I's record points scorer at the Walker Cup who also received an MBE in 2007 for services to golf, has outlined both what he thinks is needed to grow the game, and some of the benefits which accompany it.
“To me, I think driving ranges are the future as far as giving people an opportunity to play the game,” he said.
“Short golf is the future, as are par three tournaments and things like that. To me, that's where we can get golf going in the future.
“Golf has the opportunity to be able to cross dividing lines, whether it's social or cultural. The great thing about golf is wherever you go in the world – and there are golf courses everywhere – from war-torn areas to the most affluent areas in the world, you transcend that.
“You can have somebody who is the lowest of the low from the point of view of not earning a great amount of money to multi-millionaires. You share that enjoyment of what is actually an incredibly difficult sport.”
Joining Wolstenholme in Russia this week is Staysure PGA Seniors Championship winner Philip Golding, Order of Merit Number Five Phillip Price, WINSTONgolf Senior Open champion Stephen Dodd and 1989 European Tour Number One Ronan Rafferty
The action begins in Russia on Friday August 17, with José Manuel Carriles and Jean Pierre Sallat the first group to tee off at 8.00am local time (BST+2).