PREPARATIONS are well under way at Gullane Golf Club ahead of the return of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open for the second time in four years.

Some of the world’s top golfers are expected to be among the field when the event returns to the county following the success of the 2015 event.

David Morgan, club secretary, is looking forward to welcoming thousands of fans from across the world between July 11 and 15.

He told the Courier: “It is an honour for us to be hosting such a prestigious competition – it is a global event and preparations are going well.

“The course has come up well, Stuart [Duff, course manager] is pleased with how it’s looking and things are starting to get busier now with planning meetings.

“We’re working with East Lothian Council and all other organisations involved.”

The 49-year-old also revealed that visitors to the Scottish Open would find an almost identical layout to the one that thousands enjoyed three summers ago.

A composite course, made up of holes from Gullane No. 1 and No. 2, will be in use for the championship, as it was in 2015, while much of the arrangements for fans are expected to be the same.

While stressing that details were still being ironed out, Mr Morgan said: “It is the same course, the layout is almost exactly the same – there will be a few small changes but those are still being worked out at the moment.

“We’re very lucky that we’ve got three great courses and we’ve had a lot of support from our members and other local clubs.”

The Scottish Open is followed a fortnight later by the ladies’ equivalent, and they will play over the same course – with tee positions moved – from July 26 to 29.

When Gullane was announced as hosts last June, Paul Bush, director of events with VisitScotland, sung the club’s praises, saying: “Gullane Golf Club is home to three of Scotland’s finest links courses and will provide an outstanding venue.

“With strong men’s, ladies’ and junior sections, it is the epitome of a traditional Scottish golf club at the heart of the local community and I am delighted it will once again get the opportunity to welcome the world’s best players to East Lothian.

“We are proud to have so many world-class venues in Scotland and I look forward to two more successful events in East Lothian in 2018.”