Page 6 - Tourism Ireland - Contact ni2012 Edition

IRISH OPEN ON THE GLOBAL STAGE
The eyes of the world were on Royal Portrush as the historic Irish
Open teed off – attracting the top ranks of international golfers. The
Irish Open was a unique opportunity to showcase the best of Northern
Ireland and our golf. It was the high point of months of extensive
promotions in GB, the US, Germany, Sweden and other markets. Our
golfing giants have been taking the world by storm in recent years,
bringing a new focus on golf here and Tourism Ireland’s ‘Home of
Champions’ campaign has been capitalising on the huge international
interest – boosted still further by Rory McIlroy’s tremendous win at the
PGA Championship in South Carolina.
24.03.12
theheraldmagazine
45
D
arrenClarke,Graeme
McDowellandroryMcIlroy
threegenerations, three
majorchampionswhose
successesaremakingastrongcase
fornorthern Irelandas thegolfing
capitalof theworld.
Inrecognitionof theirexploits, this
summer, fromJune28 -July1, the
IrishOpen isgoingback toroyal
Portrush–oneof thebestgolfcourses
in theworld– for thefirst time in
more than60years.
HarryBradshaw,whowasborn in
Delgany, justoutsideDublin,won the
title in1947, thesameyearFredDaly,
born inPortrush,won theOpen
Championshipatroyalliverpool,
Hoylake.
Bradshawhimselfwasrunner-up
in theOpenatroyalStGeorge’s in
1949.
HewasbeatenbyBobbylocke,
ofSouthafrica, ina36-holep lay-off,
so Ireland’sgolfershavealwaysmore
thanheld theirownat thehighest
level.Theseareevenheadierdays,
however,withquality inquare (queer
as inrare)quantity,as the locals
mightput it.
DublinerPadraigHarrington
led thewaywith threemajor
championships in twoyears.That
was followedbyMcDowell,USOpen
champion in2010,McIlroy,USOpen
champion in
2011
and
Clarke, the
2011
Open
champion.
These
fabulous
golfersall
playedat
royal
Portrush,
honing their
skillswhen
theywere
growingup.
McIlroywas just15whenhe
returnedarecordscoreof61on the
Dunlucecourse,aworld-renowned
exampleof thedesigning talentsof
HarryColt.
Itwasfirstplayed in1933although
theclubwas founded in1888and it
isa tribute toColt’sgeniusand the
hardworkof themembers that ithas
remainedanoutstanding testofgolf.
MaxFaulkner,aflamboyant
englishman,won theOpen there in
1951
andClarke,whowasout
practisingon thecourseprior tohis
ownOpenwinatroyalStGeorge’s,
wasecstaticat the thoughtofonce
againshowingPortrushoff to the
world’sbestplayers.
It is fantasticnews thatanevent
of thecalibreof the IrishOpen is
cominghere,”hesaid,“It’saworld-
classeventonaworld-classgolf
course.”
TheOpenchampion isnotalone in
hisadmiration. InBaCkSPIn
magazine’s latestcourseranking,
royalPortrushwasrated Ireland’s
best links, jumpingaheadofPort-
marnockandroyalCountyDown.
andwithPortstewartandCastlerock
nearby there’sanembarrassmentof
richesalong thiscoastline.
everybody testing theirskillson
theDunlucewillhave their favourite
hole.Perhaps itwillbe the5th,White
rocks. It’sa testingpar fourwitha
greenperchedhighabove thebeach,
withviews that include theruinsof
DunluceCastle,dating from the13th
century.
Perhapsyou’llbecaptivatedby
Calamity, the14th,apar threeso
celebrated, thatoneman travelled
from theUnitedStates,paidhis
green fee,hiredacaddieandstrode
out toplay just theonehole.
It takesallsorts,butmostofus
think it’smore fun ifyouplay the
wholecourseand take the time to
haveadrinkandachat in theclub-
houseandstudy the trophiesand
photographs that tracemore than
100
yearsofgolfinghistory.
Youmighteven
stay toplay the
Valley,acourse
wheregenera-
tionsofgolfers
havecrafted
theirskills.
The trouble
withaflyingvisit
is that it’seasy to
make it just that,
butwithsomuch
toseeanddo, it
pays tosavour
theunique
atmosphere.
Thereare
courses toplay;views toadmire;
whiskey tosampleatBushmills,
Ireland’soldestworkingdistillery,
datingback to1608;Ulster fries to
savour;Carrick-a-rederopebridge
toswayacrossand theGiant’sCause-
way,where they’ll tellyou the taleof
FinnMacCool.
Hewasagiantofmythbut
McDowell,McIlroy,Clarkeand
Harringtonaregolfinggiants,who
are inspiring futuregenerations.
They’veshown that ifyou’re from
Ireland,with theworld’sbestcourses
onyourdoorstep,youcandreambig
dreams–andmake themcome true.
To findoutmore,visit
advertisement
royalPortrushhas
producedgolfing
greats–now the
historiccourse isset
toshineas ithosts
thisyear’s irishOpen
writes
PatriciaDavies
TRIPLECHEER:RoryMcIlroy,Graeme
McDowellandDarrenClarke.
STUNNING:Royal
Portrush isknown for its
beautifulsceneryand
challengingcourse.
Golf
Time to
play
STAR:Graeme
McDowell
a triumphant return
Contact
Special ni2012 Edtion
Page 6
advertisement feature
rorymcllroy
A formerworldNo1, the22-year-old
fromHolywood,CountyDown,won his
firstmajor, theUS
Open, last year.
Not only did
thatmake
him the
youngest
champion
since1923,
but he also
won in
style,with
a record
score of16 under
par.A huge
golfing talent.
darrenClarke
Emotionswere running highwhen the
genialClarke finally took his firstmajor,
theBritishOpen, last summer. Itwas the
first time he had lifted the famous old
Claret Jug in20 attempts.He has also
been a stalwart ofEurope’sRyderCup
team and remains a crowd favourite.
a trioofhomegrown
golfersarehelping
to propel Northern Ireland to the top of
world golf. Between them Darren Clarke,
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have
won threemajor championships in thepast
two years, and 22-year-old Mcllroy is now
rated thebestgolfer in theworld.
To mark these achievements, the Irish
Open is returning to the Dunluce links
course at Royal Portrush this June for the
first time since 1947,when DublinerHarry
Bradshaw won he title. Then, as now,
it proved to be amemorable era for Irish
golf, as in the same year Portrush’s own
FredDalybecame thefirst Irishman towin
theBritishOpen.
So Ireland’s golfers are no strangers
to success at the highest level but these
are even headier days. Another Dubliner,
Padraig Harrington, began the chargewith
three major titles in two years, followed
by Northern
Irish
compatriots Graeme
McDowell, the US Open champion in 2010,
RoryMcIlroy, th USOpen champion in2011
andDarrenClarke, the2011Open champion.
All three have honed their skills on the
linksatRyalPortrush–McIlroywas just 15
whenhe returneda recordscoreof61on the
Dunlucecourse.
Consistently voted among the greatest
links in the world, the course in County
Antrim, named after
the nearby 13th-
by the
renownedarchitectHarryColt. In 1951Royal
Portrush became the first course outside
England and Scotland to host the British
Open, a record it still holds. The 18 holes
combine great swathsof treacherous rough
with demanding greens and, of course, the
blast of the Atlantic Ocean, which sends
squallyweatherscuddingover thecourse.
One man who has experienced these
conditionsmore thanmost is long-standing
Portrush member Clarke, who was out
practisingon thecourse inallweathersprior
to his Open victory last year, andwho has
been advising European Tour officials on
how tobest setup the course fora top-class
internationalfield.
McIlroy, the second-youngest man to
reach the top of the world rankings, is
excited to be returning to Portrush to play
competitively for the first time since 2005.
This isgoingtobeoneofthebiggestevents
Northern Ireland has ever held, especially
as three recent major champions will be
cominghome toplay in frontof theirhome
fans,” he says. “Portrush is a tough course,
but it’salsovery fair. It’sverywelldesigned,
and there’s somebeautiful scenery.Anyone
whoplaysthecoursefalls in lovewith it,and
it’llbegreat togetback there in June.”
Thebeautyofthiscourse isthatyoudon’t
have tobeoneof theworld’sbestplayers to
enjoythese links,justreasonablycompetent
with a certificatedhandicap. Enjoy some of
themost testing holes to be found on any
links, beginning with the 5th, where the
backof the green and the cliff edge areone
and the same.Thehole isnicknamedWhite
Rocksafter theboulder-strewnbeachwhere
When itcomesto
top-quality links
courses,there isan
embarrassment
ofrichesalong
Northern Ireland’s
Causewaycoast.Atthe
Portstewart club
(1)
,
justdown
theroad from
Portrush,thereare
threegreatcourses,
includingthe famous
Strand,with itstoweringsanddunes,
andtheOldCourse,whichhashugged
therockyshorelinesince1889.
There’sachoiceofcoursesat
Castlerock (2)
,
too.Justfivemiles
fromColeraine,youcanplaythepar-73
Mussenden,ortakeonthenine-
holeBanncourse,consideredoneof
themostscenic in Ireland.There is
anothernine-holecourse furtheralong
thecoastatthe
Bushfoot club (3)
inPortballintrae.
Ifyoutravelabit furtherafield, just
Boastinga formerworldNo1and twoothermajorwinners,Northern Ireland is
at thepinnacleofgolf.To celebrate, the IrishOpen is returning to thebeautiful
Dunluce linkscurseatRoyalPortrush for thefirst time in65 years
Northern Irelandhasawealth
of links courses for you toenjoy.
When youhavefinished your
round, take time toexplore its
otherattractions, including the
majesticGiant’sCauseway
On top of the world
from course to causeway
Formore information andgreat valueoffers toNorthern Ireland, visit
discoverireland.com/irishopen
Portrush is
toughbut fair,
andanyone
whoplaysthe
course falls in
lovewith it’
anyover-hitapproachwillcome to rest.
Lookout,too, for thefiendishly trickypar-
three7th,whichcallsfora long,straightdrive
followedbyacoolnessoftouchonthesloping
green,orbecaptivatedby the14th,knownas
Calamity. This 210-yard par three involves
a testofnerveasyoudriveoveradeep ravine
on to a green perched precariously atop a
100-
foot precipice. And striding down the
17
th,youcan’thelpbutmarvelatBigBertha,
thebiggestbunker in Ireland.
FindtimetoplayPortrush’ssecondcourse,
the Valley, too. It may be overshadowed
by its big brother,but it’sno pushover and
a place where generations of golfers have
crafted the skills that have given them a
lifetime of pleasure and frustration. Here
the two feature holes are played back-to-
backon the frontnine.The5th isashortpar
fourplayed fromanelevated tee in the sand
hills to a green framed by towering dunes
and protected on three sides bymenacing
bunkers. The par-three 6th is then played
slightly uphill on to a green hidden by the
course’snaturalundulations.
But on 1 July all eyeswill be back on the
Dunluce course, as the final round of the
IrishOpendrawstoaclose.Perhapsasecond
Northern Irish golferwill land a trophy last
wonby thegreatFredDaly65yearsago.
southofBelfastyouwillfind
Royal
CountyDown (4)
.
Setagainstthe
stunningbackdropoftheMourne
mountains,youcanenjoythe
challengeofthenarrow fairwaysand
famous“beardedbunkers”–their
angling lipstoppedwithmarram,
red fescueandheather.
Ofcourse,visitorstothispicturesque
partofNorthern Irelandcanenjoya
hostofattractionsaway fromthegolf
course,too.Vastsandybeachesareone
ofthe featuresofthe
northAntrim
coast (5)
,
backedbyvastdunes
orweather-worncliffs;a
walkalongthisdramatic
stretchofcoast isgreat
formindandsoul.
Thereal jewel isthe
Giant’sCauseway (6)
,
aUnescoworldheritage
site.Thisstrangeand
unique formationofrocks
exploded fromtheearth
about60millionyearsagoand isan
awe-inspiringsight.
Forthosewithahead forheights,
the
Carrick-a-Rede (7)
ropebridge
offersaprecipitousrouteovera75-foot-
deepchasm fromthemainlandto
Carrick Island,andmany followthis
actofderring-dowithavisittothe
Bushmillsbrewery (8)
furtheralong
thecoast.This is Ireland’soldest
workingdistillery,andhasbeen
producing itsdistinctivewhiskeys
since1608.
Thecityof
Derry (9)
offersan insight
intoNorthern Ireland’srecenthistory.
Taketheone-miletrailalongthecity’s
medievalwallsandmaketimetotour
the famousmurals–hugepaintings
coveringgableendsandwallsthatoffer
somepersonalmemoriesof living in
Derryoverthepast40years.
Graeme
mcdowell
Another local
boywhogrew up
on the links at
Portrush.His one-
shot victory in the
2010
USOpen
beganNorthern
Ireland’s rush to
top spot inworld golf.Theway inwhich
McDowell held his nerve during the
final holesmadegolf’s elite sit up and
take notice, and he also claimed the
winning point forEurope in the2010
RyderCup.
alandunbar
One ofNorthern Ireland’s leading
amateurs, the21-year-oldwon
the2010 IrishAmateurOpen
Championship. If he can add a touch
more consistency to hisgame, he could
be another player to keepNorthern
Ireland at the pinnacle ofworldgolf.
northern ireland’smajor
stars– andone towatch
TheDunluce course
ishome toBig
Bertha, thebiggest
bunker in Ireland
RoyalCounty
Down
Amural
inDerry
Giant’s
Causeway
123
4
5
67
8
9
XX
SPORT
ADVERTISEMEMNTPROMOTION
M
oveoverScotland.
NorthernIreland is
staking itsclaimtobe
thenewhomeofgolf.
Andallroadsare
leadingnottoStAndrews inFifebut
toPortrush inCountyAntrim,espe-
cially inJunewhentheIrishOpen
returnstoNorthernIreland forthe
firsttimesince1953,andtotheDun-
lucecourseatRoyalPortrush forthe
firsttimesince1947.
Backthen,the legendaryIrish
professionalHarryBradshawwon
thecovetedtrophy.Thisyear,there
willbethreeNorthernIrish legends
competing forwhatmaybedubbed,
foroneyearat least,theunofficial
NorthernIrishOpen.Pleasebe
upstanding forUlster’sGreatTri-
umvirate:RoryMcIlroy,2011US
Openchampionwhomade itto
WorldNo1 inMarch;DarrenClarke,
2011
Openchampion;andGraeme
McDowell,2010USOpenchampion
andthemanwhoholedthewinning
putt inthe2010RyderCupatCeltic
Manor inWales.“Soyouwantto
talkaboutNorthernIreland’scon-
tinueddominationofworldgolf,”
McDowellsaidrecentlywitha
chuckle.“It’sunfathomablewhat’s
beenhappeningwiththreemajors
champions inme,RoryandDarren,”
hesaid.“Whenyou’vegotRorycom-
ingoutofyourcountry,that’sapret-
tygoodstart,andDarren’salways
hadthetalent.”
RoyalPortrushalsostagedthe
OpenChampionship in1951when
theEnglishmanMaxFaulkner
claimedtheClaretJug.It istheonly
timetheOpenhasbeenstagedout-
sidemainlandBritain.Butthere is
renewedhopethattheoldestmajor
championshipwillonedayreturnto
RoyalPortrush.Thecoursehas
alreadyheldtheSeniorOpenCham-
pionshipsixtimesandalways fea-
tureshighlyontheTop100courses
intheUKandIreland.Only its
NorthernIrishsister,RoyalCounty
Down,sitsabove it inallIreland,and
SportsIllustrated’sAmericanpubli-
cationGolfmagazinevotedRoyal
Portrushthe14thbestgolfcourse in
theworld.
Notsurprisingly,McDowell,who
grewuphoninghisskillson its
celebrated links,names itashis
favouritecourse.“Portrushwill
alwaysholdaspecialplace inmy
heart,”said.“Igetaspecialbuzz
everytimeIwalkontothe firsttee.
It’shome.Therenothingquite likea
knockaroundPortrushwithapint
afterwardswithmydadand
mybrothers.”
Thecoursehasbeenrevamped
for itsreturntothespotlight.There
areterrific finishingholes.The14th
isastunningparthreethat is210
yards fromthebacktees.It’scalled
CalamityCornerbecausetheplay-
erswillhavetohitoveraravineto
findthegreen,whichhangsona
precipice.Andthenewteeatthe
17
thhasbroughtBigBertha,the
hugebunker,back intoplay.It’sreck-
onedtobethebiggestsandtrap in
allIreland.Thestunningscenery
outoverthecoastlinerequired
norenovation.
NorthernIreland’sTourism
MinisterArleneFostersaid:“The
successofDarrenClarke,Rory
McIlroyandGraemeMcDowellhas
ledmanyto labelNorthernIreland
asthegolfingcapitaloftheworld.
This isouryeartochangeglobal
perceptionsandrepositionNorth-
ernIrelandasaplaceto live,work,
invest,studyandvisit.”
NorthernIreland ishometo
meandnowmykidscansaythe
same,”Clarkesaid.“I’mhappy
knowingmysonsarepartofawarm
familyenvironment.I’mpleased for
everybody inthispartoftheworld
thattheIrishOpen iscomingback
toPortrush.Thedecisionreflects
theamazingrunthisrelativelysmall
golfcommunityhashad inthe last
coupleofyears.Bestofall, itwillbe
greattosleep inmyownbedduring
thatweek.”
Clarke,McDowellandMcIlroy
willallreceiveahero’swelcome in
June.Nonemoresothan22-year-old
McIlroy,whoscored61atRoyal
Portrushasa15-year-old– it’sstill
thecourserecord.“I’mexpecting
hugecrowdsandagreatatmos-
phereandamemorableweek.This
isgoingtobeoneofthebiggest
eventsNorthernIrelandhasever
held,especiallyasthreerecent
MajorChampionswillbecoming
hometoplay in frontoftheirhome
fans.EveryoneI’vespokento isso
excitedabouttheIrishOpencoming
toPortrushandhopefully itwillbea
boost fortheclubaswell.Maybeone
daythey’llbeabletohostanOpen
Championshipthereagain,too.”
Thisisgoingtobe
oneofthebiggest
eventsthatNorthern
Irelandhaseverheld”
Formore informationandtofindgreat
valueofferstoNorthern Ireland,visit
discoverireland.com/irishopen
Ireland’s threegiants
retur
Causeway
RoryMcIlroy,leftand
below,withGraeme
McDowell,centre,and
DarrenClarke,right
PRESSEYE
ROYALCOUNTYDOWN,
CHAMPIONSHIPCOURSE
No2 inGolfMonthly’stop100
courses intheUKand Ireland
OnlyMuirfield inScotlandstands
aboveRoyalCountyDown in
Golf
Monthly
sTop100Coures.Th
combinationofgorse,Newcastle
townskylineand theMourne
mountainsbeyond imbueCounty
Downwithoneofgolf’smost
ROYALPORTRUSH,
DUNLUCECOURSE
No15 inGolfMonthly’stop100
courses intheUKand Ireland
Theonlycourse in Irelandtohave
hostedtheOpen. It’snowhomeof
the2012 IrishOpen,thefirsttime
thechampionshiphasbeenheld in
thenorthsince1953.Theawe-
inspiringcourse liesonthewild
CountyAntrimcoastlinecloseto
LOUGHERNE
No54 inGolfMonthly’stop100
courses intheUKand Ireland
ThebrainchildofSirNickFaldo
nearEnniskillenpresentsamix
ofstylesas itcurlsaroundCastle
HumeLoughandLowerLough
Erne.Holesvary frompine-lined
andheathland toahintof the
links.Thereareplentyofwater
hazards, too.This is Ireland’s
mond.
HIGHLYRECOMMENDED
PORTSTEWARTGOLFCLUB
Clinging to Ireland’sCauseway
Coast inCountyLondonderry, the
coursewasputon themust-play
mapby localschoolteacherDes
Giffin in the1980s.Headded
sevennewholes thatweave
throughsomeof the tallestdunes
onanyBritish Islesgolfcourse.
s.
CASTLEROCK
Localshavealwayswhisperedthat
Castlerock,ontheCountyLondon-
derrycoastnearPortrush,wastheir
hiddengem.Theirsecret isout.Fred
Daly– Ireland’sonlyOpenchampion
untilPadraigHarringtonandDarren
Clarkecamealong–wasCastlerock
Northern
Ireland’sBig5
Great courses
oneverygolfer’s
bucket list
GETTY IMAGES
ALLISS IN WONDERLAND
Legendary golf commentator Peter Alliss recorded footage at some of
Northern Ireland’s iconic golf courses and facilities – including Royal
Portrush, Royal County Down, Holywood Golf Club, Dungannon Golf
Club and Darren Clarke’s Golf Academy at Greenmount, Co Antrim.
The independent production, fronted by Alliss, was distributed to TV
networks in two of our key golf markets, GB and the US, in the run-up
to and during the Irish Open.
TV golf commentator
Peter Alliss during filming
at Royal Portrush.
Peter Allis with golf commentator
Maureen Madill, originally from
Portstewart, during filming at Ardtara
Country House, Maghera.
In the US, Tourism Ireland’s specially-
commissioned 60-second Northern Ireland golf
ad ran on the extremely popular Golf Channel
this spring, around big tournaments like the
WGC Match Play in Arizona and the Honda
Classic in Florida. The ads also aired on the
Golf Channel around the US Open in San
Francisco, as Rory returned to defend his US
Open title, reaching an estimated 10.5 million
viewers.
In GB, a series of ads and
advertorials ran in
newspapers such as The
Times, The Independent, the
Guardian, The Telegraph and
The Herald (Scotland),
reaching an estimated 9.6
million readers this spring.
D
arren Clarke, Graeme McDowell
and Rory McIlroy:
three major
champions whose
successes are
making a strong case forNorthern
Irelandas thegolfingcapitalof theworld.
Inrecognitionof theirexploits–mostrecently,
McIlroyheld theworldnumber 1 spot for a few
weeks – this summer the IrishOpen returns to
RoyalPortrush,oneof thebestgolfcourses in the
world, for thefirst time inoversixtyyears.
Dubliner Padraig Harrington led the way
with threemajor championships in two years,
followed in a rush by McDowell, US Open
champion in2010,McIlroy,USOpenchampion
in 2011 and Clarke, the 2011 Open champion.
Theyneedno invitation towax lyricalabout the
delightsofRoyalPortrush,onwhosegreensthey
played while honing their skills as youngsters.
McIlroywas just 15whenhe returned a record
scoreof61ontheDunlucecourse.Firstplayed in
1933
althoughtheclub itselfwasfounded in1888,
the course is a tribute to designerHarryColt’s
visionand thehardworkof themembers that it
hasremainedanoutstanding testofgolf.
DarrenClarke is delighted at the thought of
onceagaindemonstratingPortrush’squalities to
someof theworld’sbestplayers. “It is fantastic
news that an event of the calibre of the Irish
Open iscominghere,”he said. “It’saworld-class
eventonaworld-classgolfcourse. Iknowevery
inchof this course and canvouch for itsquality
andI’mpleased foreverybody in thispartof the
world. The decision to come here reflects the
amazingrunthisrelativelysmallgolfcommunity
hashad in the lastcoupleofyears.”
The Open champion is not alone in his
admiration. In BACKSPINmagazine’s latest
biennial course ranking, Royal Portrushwas
rated as Ireland’s best links, jumping ahead
of Portmarnock and Royal County Down
(
Newcastle). Portstewart, just down the road
from Portrush, and Castlerock, a few miles
further on, are both in the top 25, giving
this coastline an embarrassment of golfing
riches. This clutch of top quality courses
helps explain the proliferation of top quality
Irish golfers. If you can conquer Northern
Ireland’s best courses, you can conquer the
best coursesanywhere.
Luckily you don’t have to be a top-class
player toenjoy these links: as long asyouhave
abonafidehandicap,youcanplay. Everybody
testing their skills on the Dunluce will have
their favourite hole: perhaps the 5th,White
Rocks.It’snotoverly long,buta testing ar four
with a green perched high above the bech,
and views that include the ruins of Dunluce
Castle,dating from the 13thcentury.
Orperhapsyou’llbe captivtedbyCalamity,
the14th,apar threesocelebrated thatoneman
travelled all theway from the USA to play –
quite literally – just the one hole. It takes all
sorts butmost of us think it’smore fun if you
play thewhole course and take time tohave a
drink and a chat in the clubhouse afterwards,
and study the trophies and phoographs that
trace more than a hundred years of golfing
history.Youmight even stay toplay theValley,
a course literally overshadowed by its big
brother,theDunluce,butstillnopushover.It’sa
placewheregenerationsofgolfershavecrafted
the skills that have given them a lifetime of
pleasureand frustration.
The troublewithaflyingvisit is that it’seasy
tomake it justthat:arushedtripwithouttaking
time to savour the small stuff. And there’s a
lot to fit in: courses to play; views to admire;
whiskey tosampleatBushmills,Ireland’soldest
woking distillery, dating back to 1608;Ulster
fries to savour;Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge to
sway acrss i you dare; theGiant’sCauseway,
aWorldHeritage sitewhere they’ll tellyou the
taleofFinnMacCool.
MacCoolwasagiantofmythbutMcDowell,
McIlroy, Clarke and Harrington are living,
breathing, golfing giants, present-day legends
re-writing the record books and inspiring
future generations to the greatest of heights.
Thy’ve shown thatwhereveryou come from,
with the world’s best golfing playgrounds on
your doorstep, you can dream big dreams –
andmake themcome true.
Formore informationvisit
discoverireland.com/irishopen
ADVERTISEMENTFEATURE
Golf inNorthernIreland isonaroll–
whatbettertime fortheIrishOpen
championshiptoreturntoRoyalPortrush?
Golf
Time to
play
Golf’s coming
home – to
Royal Portrush
Luckilyyoudon’thave
tobeatop-classplayer
toenjoythese links:as
longasyouhaveabona
fidehandicap
A promotion for the Irish Open
appeared on 1.75 million packs
of Rankin Selection soda bread,
distributed through Sainsbury’s,
Tesco and Waitrose
supermarkets across GB.
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Advertisingfeature
Credit
Golf’s own country
RoyalPortrush,oneoftheworld’sgreat
linkscourses,returnstothetour
schedulethisyearaftera longbreak
I
thasbeen61 longyearssincethe
magnificentRoyalPortrushGolfClub in
Northern Irelandhostedatourevent,
but itwillonceagainhostthebest inthe
worldwhenthe IrishOpen isstaged
therethisyear.
Portrushappears inany listof the finest
golfcourseson theplanet,and indeed there
isnowagroundswellofopinion that itshould
hostanOpenChampionshiponceagain (it last
staged theOpen in1951,whenMaxFaulkner
lifted theClaretJug).
AndneverhasNorthern Irishgolf,and its
golfers,beenmore in thenews.Darren
Clarke,GraemeMcDowellandRoryMcIlroy,
are threemajorchampionswhosesuccesses
aremakingastrongcase forNorthern
Irelandas thegolfingcapitalof theworld.
When the IrishOpengoesback toRoyal
Portrush from fromJune28-July1, those
threeplayers,allofwhomplayedmuchof
their juniorgolf there,canshow therestof
theworldwhat they’vebeenmissing. Indeed,
McIlroyset thecourserecordof61 there
whenhewas justaprecocious15-year-old.
RoyalPortrushhasrecentlybeenrated
Ireland’sbest links, jumpingaheadof
PortmarnockandRoyalCountyDown.
Portstewart, justdown theroad from
Portrush,andCastlerock,a fewmiles further
on,are in the top25,so there’san
embarrassmentofrichesalong this
particularcoastline.
Thebeauty,ofcourse, is thatyoudon’t
have tobeoneof thebestplayers in theworld
toenjoy these links, justreasonably
competent,withabona fidehandicap.
Everybody testing theirskillsatPortrushwill
have their favouritehole: perhaps the5th,
WhiteRocks,notoverly longbuta testingpar
fourwithagreenhighabove thebeachand
views that include theruinsofDunluceCastle,
dating from the13thcentury, longbeforegolf
waseven thoughtof;orperhapsyou’llbe
captivatedbyCalamity, the14th,apar three
celebratedaround theworld.
Youmaynotbeable toplayquiteaswellas
McDowell,McIlroyandClarke– these living,
breathing,golfinggiants–butyoucanenjoy
yourgolf inNorthern Ireland justasmuch.
This issomeof thebestgolfing land
anywhere in theworld,and it’sout there,
rightnow,waiting forallofus togoand
savour itsriches.
Watch thisyear’s IrishOpenandmarvelat
themajestyof thePortrush links,and then
give ita tryyourself.You’llbecaptivated.
Formore information,go to
d.com/irishopen.
Golf
Time to
play
1
Castlerock is
oneofthe
hiddengemsof
NorthernIrish
linksgolf.A
propertest,
particularly in
thewind, it’saccessibleforallandyou’reguaranteeda
friendlywelcome.Highlyrecommended.
2
Thereare
three
coursesat
Portstewartand
you’llbehard
pressednotto
loveanyofthem.
TheStrand isthebeastthough–arealpar-72test
throughtoweringdunes.Ifthatdoesn’tappeal,the
RiversideortheOldCoursesurelywill.
3
Ifyouwant
towalk in
thefootstepsof
a legend,then
tee itupat
HolywoodGolf
Club,home
coursetotheyoungRoryMcIlroy.It’saparklandtest,
ratherthana linkscourse,but it’satruly lovelygolf
course,andclosetoBelfasttoo.
Trytheseforsizetoo...
Themajestyof
RoyalPortrush
(
above)–oneofthe
finestcourses
imaginable
David Boyce, Tourism Ireland,
with celebrity chef Paul Rankin
at the launch of the Irish Open
promotion in GB.