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Royal Portrush

What a fiercesome looking venue for the 2019 Open. I’m not sure this picture is real, but if so, this is awesome!


The major headline was about the local boy who made the course record at the age of 16 - Rory McIlroy - did not make the cut after a disastrous first round that included an 8 on the first hole. Poor fellow. Some other notable headlines included a 14 made by former world number one, David Duval, at the par 5 7th hole.

The course is mapped out below. But, as seems to be the case with all these courses, there was an enormous amount of preparation involved. New holes, bunkers, underground tunnels, all the infrastructure shipped in from mainland UK etc. Read this story: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/british-open-2019-what-it-took-to-turn-royal-portrush-into-a-fully-loaded-open-championship-venue

The course layout for the Open.

The course layout for the Open.

The winner turned out to be a somewhat local boy - Shane Lowry - from down South. Brilliant display.

Shane’s acceptance speech on 18 green.

Shane’s acceptance speech on 18 green.

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Hugely popular win and for all sorts of good reasons. Check out his celebrations after in his local pub which you can find on YouTube. Also, he decided to pass on the following weekend’s golf and stay home. Nice fellow.

Here’s some background on the course from the club’s excellent website:

If Portrush owes the best part of its renown to golf, which has converted an erstwhile fishing village into a world-famous holiday resort, it is no less true to say that golf, and especially ladies’ golf, owes a considerable debt to Portrush.

It was here that the Irish Open Amateur Championship was inaugurated in 1892, and the Irish Professional Championship in 1907. Portrush, in 1895, was the first links outside of England to house the British Ladies’ Championship, which was won by Lady Margaret Scott. The Championship was played here for the eighth time in 1995, and was won by Julie Hall from Felixstowe Ferry GC.

Altogether more than fifty national championships, British and Irish, have been decided here. The first professional tournament ever held in Ireland was run by the club in 1895. It was decided by match play, and the famous Sandy’ Herd, who was the Club’s first professional, was the winner; his opponent in the final was Harry Vardon, who was then a comparative unknown player, just coming up to the form that was to win him his first Open Championship in the following year. In July, Royal Portrush had the distinction of being the first Irish course to host The Open Championship, the winner being Max Faulkner with a score of 285 for the four rounds.

When the club was formed in May 1888, it was known as The County Club. It became The Royal County Club in 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was its patron, and ‘The Royal Portrush Golf Club’ three years later, with H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) as patron.

The links have undergone many alterations in the course of its existence. The nine-hole course of 1888 was extended to eighteen holes the following year, and at that time, eight of these holes were laid out on the landward side of the Causeway road. Gradually, however, the course was moved further and further into the sand hills, until the famous architect, Harry Colt, laid out his own plans for the Dunluce links in 1929. The unfortunate loss of land comprising the first and eighteenth holes of this layout led to the creation of the present eight and ninth holes under the guidance of P.G. Stevenson and Sir Anthony Babington in 1946.

And here’s some comment son the Dunluce course:

The Dunluce Links is rated as one of the most challenging and spectacular links courses in the world, and has undergone major changes as part of preparations for the 148th Open.

The original architect was the famed Harry Colt who produced breath taking golfing landscape beside the Atlantic Ocean on the North Coast of Northern Ireland, and which commands distant views of the hills of Donegal in the Irish Republic, and the island of Islay, 25 miles away in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

The Links is named after the nearby ruins of the medieval Dunluce Castle located on the edge of a basalt outcropping overlooking the sea between Portrush and Portballintrae.

In order to meet the demands as a modern day Open Championship venue, significant changes were carried out to the course under the stewardship of the golf architect Martin Ebert of Mackenzie and Ebert.

Works commenced in November 2015 and for the next 18 months, and the shifting sands gave way to the building of five new greens, eight new tee boxes, 10 new bunkers and the creation of two new holes, the 7th and 8th on land which was once part of the Valley course.

The uphill par-5 7th is called Curran Point, named after a stretch of beach which runs parallel on the East Strand. The 8th which runs in the opposite direction is called Dunluce, and they replace the old 17th and 18th on ground which has been temporarily set aside as the site for the Open’s tented village.

The new Championship Links has been lengthened by 130 yards to 7,317 yards, and another special feature of the altered layout was the excavation of thousands of tonnes of sand to build a 180 feet underground tunnel of fabricated steel.

Featured Holes

The Dunluce Links is home to one of the most stunning par fours in golf, the 382 yard 5th hole. A dogleg hole played from an elevated tee towards the ocean, it rewards the daring shot across a wide expanse of rough. Be careful though, as an overly long approach shot will end up on the sand of the White Rocks beach which lies just beyond the rear of the green. Make sure and take a moment to enjoy the stunning views from the green towards the 15th Century Dunluce castle and the surfers braving the swells below.
Calamity Corner, the 236 yard par 3 16th Hole is a must play for any follower of the game. Between the tee and the green is a yawning chasm, which must be cleared to stand any chance of making your three. It is hard to describe the feeling as you stand on this tee, looking out across the Valley links below, knowing it will take a fantastic shot to hit the small target across the void.

Course on the bucket list folks!

Isle of Skye Golf Club