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Photographer Click-starts countdown to 2012 Open

After Darren Clarke's triumph at Royal St George's, preparations for the 141th Open Championship are already underway with the release of the first of a new set of images of next year's venue. Captured by international golf course photographer Mark Alexander, the images show the stern test that awaits the world's best at Royal Lytham & St Annes golf course next year.

Commissioned by the club to shoot the course following a preliminary visit in March, Alexander spent three days at the renowned venue in June capturing the early morning and late evening light. Brought up in St Andrews, the Fife based award-winning photographer is no stranger to championship links, but even he couldn't help noticing the challenge presented by the Lancashire course.

"It was a great experience and challenge to shoot Royal Lytham & St Annes," said the Scot. "The course offers a very stern test of golf which I wanted to capture in the images. The key was to get the right light to show off the strategy and beauty of each hole, which hopefully I've done."

Despite some weather delays and a close encounter with one of the course's local residents, Alexander said the session went as planned. "The weather had been changeable in the run up to the shoot," he said. "I watched the forecasts very closely and saw a window of opportunity and went for it. When I arrived at the club I had an evening session followed by a 4.30am start. It was worth it for the incredible light and the welcome I got from one of the big male foxes that lives on the course. At first we stared at each other, and then we got on with our jobs!"

As well as hosting two Ryder Cups, Royal Lytham & St Annes has also welcomed 10 Open Championships with the last one being held in 2001 when David Duval held on to a three-stroke lead to claim the Claret jug. Many things have changed since then including a new look to the clubhouse and numerous on-course developments masterminded by golf course architect Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert Ltd, who recommended Alexander to the club.

"Mark's shots of Royal Lytham really show off his skills and our work for the 2012 Open Championship," noted Ebert, who has advised on five out of nine Opens since 2005. "We have been very impressed with Mark's photography since seeing his shots of Turnberry which we worked on in preparation for the 2009 Open Championship. Good photographs are of critical importance to showcase our golf course design work."

Mark Alexander

To view the initial shots of Alexander's shoot, visit www.markalexanderphotography.co.uk/RoyalLythamandStAnnes/









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