Top American golf writers visited Royal Portrush last week, as part of a fact-finding trip which took in some of the island of Ireland’s top golf courses. Invited here by Tourism Ireland, one of the highlights of their itinerary was a visit to the Irish Open and a chance to play in the pro-am at Portrush on Wednesday, before returning the following day for a more relaxing visit as they watched the action on the first day of the prestigious tournament.
The group included Ashley Mayo of Golf Digest magazine – one of the most popular and widely read sports titles in the United States – whose 6.5 million readers recently voted Royal Portrush number 13 in their poll of the ‘100 Best Courses outside the US’, with Royal County Down taking the top spot at number one. Their itinerary also saw the group tee off at a number of courses in the North West including Rosses Point in Sligo, Donegal and the Glashedy links at Ballyliffin.
Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland’s head of North America, said: “Tourism Ireland was delighted to bring these leading golf writers to Royal Portrush, helping to showcase the world-class golf on offer here to a huge audience of potential American golf holidaymakers. We are confident that the articles they write on their return home will whet appetites and encourage many golfers from the US to include Northern Ireland in their future travel plans.
“Over the past few months, we have arranged for leading golf, travel and lifestyle media, tour operators and travel agents to come and play Royal Portrush and other golf courses, as well as experience some of the many other great things to do and see in Northern Ireland. We have been taking every opportunity to highlight the superb golf on offer here. Our message is that Northern Ireland offers golfers the complete package – with top courses, stunning scenery and the warmest of welcomes.”
Golf tourism currently generates over £14 million per year for the local economy, with the spend per golf visitor coming in at around £300-£450, significantly higher than the average visitor spend.