The R&A has announced changes to the final qualifying stage for the Open Championship effective from 2014.

Four courses have now been selected, one from Scotland and three in England covering the north-west, central and south-coast regions.

Previously, courses were selected on their proximity to the Open Championship venue.

The idea behind the change is to provide a more accessible route into the Open Championship for competitors qualifying from the 16 regional qualifying courses around Great Britain and Ireland.

The courses selected for the new final qualifying stages are Glasgow – Gailes Links, Hillside, Woburn and Royal Cinque Ports. Three places in the Open Championship will be up for grabs at each venue.

Rhodri Price, The R&A’s assistant director of championships, said: “This alteration to the qualifying make up will offer a more geographically convenient way for competitors seeking to achieve a starting place in the Open Championship.

“The R&A have maintained a very close relationship with all venues associated with the qualifying stages and this is a natural step towards continuing to offer competitors wishing to enter within Great Britain and Ireland a route into the Open Championship.”