One of the UK’s largest vehicle hirers, Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, has provided a fleet of 40 Mercedes-Benz E Class Estate cars plus 15 minibuses and light vans to transport competitors and officials around at this week’s Women’s British Open Golf Championship held over four days from the 1st to the 4th August at the Woburn Golf Club.
The tournament, sponsored by AIG, a leading global insurance organisation, has attracted 144 of the world’s top women golfers and at this week’s pre-Championship pro-am, Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental fielded two fourball teams.
One was led by Ian Hill, managing director of Milton Keynes-headquartered Activa Contracts, a sister business to Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, and comprised: Chris Connors, head of facilities and fleet at Countryside Properties, one of the UK’s largest property development companies and a long-time Activa Contracts’ customer; Chris Thornton, group finance director, Hughes Electrical, a major UK electrical retailer through its Hughes TV retail arm and another long-time client; and top professional golfer Marianne Skarpnord from Norway.
The second team was hosted by David Cooper, group finance and leasing director, Arnold Clark Automobiles, and comprised: Ian Stuart, chief executive officer, HSBC UK Bank; Maurice Howkins, recently retired European corporate sales and fleet sales General Motors and leading professional golfer Anna Nordqvist (Sweden).
Both teams finished mid-table in the pro-am, which was played in horrendous weather with wind and rain battering the golfers on the Marquess Championship course.
Nevertheless, said Mr Hill: “It was a fantastic day. The course was in superb condition and despite the weather some good golf was played by all, with the mere mortals in the team being reminded of the huge gulf between club golfers and professionals. Marianne hit the ball a country mile and had a short game to die for, but she was also very good company and supported the team through the difficult conditions.”
Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, which also has an office in Milton Keynes, has been the official car sponsorship partner at the Women’s British Open Golf Championship for the past six years. Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental, like Activa Contracts, is a division of the Arnold Clark Group, Europe’s largest independently-owned vehicle dealer group.
Mr Hill said: “We are delighted with the sponsorship arrangement. The tournament is providing great visibility for the Arnold Clark brand. The sponsorship agreement remains in place next year when the Women’s British Open Golf Championship is held at Troon in Scotland.”
Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental’s support of women’s golf continues later this year when it will be providing a fleet of vehicles for the 2019 Solheim Cup - the prestigious biennial contest between Europe and the USA - which takes place at Gleneagles in Scotland 13th to the 15th September.
Woburn Golf Club first hosted the Women’s British Open Championship in 1984 and has since held the tournament on 10 occasions, returning firstly in 1990 for seven consecutive years and again in 1999 and 2016. This year’s Championship, which has BBC Television coverage on all four days, is being played on the Marquess course for the second time.