Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Irish Golf to the North - Part 1 - The North West Open

A few months back, Irish golf hosted the Social Media Open - a pairs tournament that saw some 40 golfers from Ireland, the UK and Sweden play over Mount Juliet, Castlemartyr, Adare and The Old Head of Kinsale. It was a big success with Tom Kennedy, the organiser (and now Director of Golf in Ghana), ending up with almost double the number of golfers expected. The organisation was impressive as were the prizes, due to the power and reach of social media.

In a similar vein, golfers can now participate in a pairs tournament that heads to the north of our golf course-laden isle from August 28 to August 31, 2013. If you want to play excellent courses and combine links with parkland, sign up for The North West Open and play Ballyliffin (both courses), Lough Erne and Slieve Russell.

What makes this event so attractive is not only the quality of the courses and the entry fee, but also the organisation: your accommodation (4 nights' B&B) is included as part of the fee, and there's a 3 course meal thrown in on one night, with the prize-giving ceremony at the end. The prizes are impressive too:

Prize fund of over €3,000 featuring 2 x Powakaddy Trolleys , 2 x Taylormade R1 Drivers, 2 x Taylormade 3 Woods, 2 x Callaway Golf Bags, 2 x Ping Wedges + many more great prizes 

The 7th at Lough Erne
Entry Fee is €460 per person, which works out at €115 per day for golf, accommodation and breakfast. Oh, and if you think the accommodation is just basic stuff, think again. You get to spend one night in Lough Erne's 5 star golf lodges and another in Slieve Russell, with Ballyliffin the venue for the last two nights.

Lough Erne, host to the G8 (but don't let that put you off), is a lake-laced parkland in Co. Fermanagh. Designed by Faldo it is a big, big course in terms of scale and ambition and you are never far from water.
The 13th at Slieve Russell
Slieve Russell has lots of movement across its lazy parkland landscape in peaceful Co. Cavan. You may not be surrounded by as much water as at Lough Erne, but it is just as threatening when it arrives.

Ballyliffin and its two courses are two of the great links and they are quite different. The Old course is lower and closer to the sea, its fairways a maze of bumps that rollercoast towards greens. The Glashedy has more muscle, more danger, as well as a couple of climbs through the dunes to show off the daunting landscape.
Approach to the 3rd at Ballyliffin Old
From what I gathered about the Social Media Open, the craic in the evenings at these events is mighty... I've seen the photos! The North West Open will be no different, so rustle up a playing partner and get booking. Spaces are filling up fast for another great Irish golf event.

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