Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Irish Open... A Christmas Opportunity (£25) for Royal County Down

The par three 10th, with the 11th beyond
In 2015, the Irish Open will be played at one of the greatest golf courses in the world. This is no overstatement, exaggeration or embellishment. Royal County Down is a remarkable course that is revered worldwide. It vibrates with brilliance and perfectly reflects its glorious setting at the foot of the Mourne Mountains on Dundrum Bay.

Next May, between the 28th and 31st, many of the world’s best golfers will vie for the Irish Open title. As a spectacle it will be, well, spectacular. Rory will be centre stage, but with Ricky Fowler also confirmed, there may be a rush of big American names who will see it as an opportunity to play not only such a famous course but also to start their preparation for the Open Championship at St. Andrew’s.

In other words, being a spectator at such an event could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. And now is the time to start thinking about booking… for three reasons:
  1. There will ONLY be 20,000 tickets sold for each day. Compare this to the 29,000 who attended the final day at this year’s event in Fota Island, and the record breaking total of 130,000 who went through the gate at Royal Portrush, and you’ll want to get booking. It is sure to sell out.
  2. Tickets cost £35… but only £25 if you book before December 31st.
  3. In 2012, Royal Portrush was sold out… and it’s considerably less accessible than Royal County Down. From Dublin, Royal Portrush is 156 miles from Dublin, while RCD is just 82 miles. Up the M1 to Newry and hang a right.

The European Tour’s Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs joined
NITB’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Thomson in Dublin today to urge Irish golf
fans to book their tickets early for next year’s Irish Open at Royal County Down

The event will be hosted for the first time by world number one Rory McIlroy’s own charitable foundation. He may be able to convince other big names to come along. Jordan Spieth, for example. And many of Europe’s biggest names will also be there. There’s talk about assembling the old Walker Cup teams from 2007, when Rory and Rickie Fowler last faced each other.

The European Tour’s Antonia Beggs, Championship Director for the Irish Open, claims that the Irish Open in Northern Ireland is the next best thing to a major championship for players and fans alike.
“Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s best golf courses and the success of its golfers, led by Rory McIlroy, has led to an unprecedented level of interest in the region as a golf tourism destination,” said Antonia.  
Views back down the 11th towards the Mourne Mountains
I cannot tell you how excited we are to be returning in 2015 to one of the best courses on the planet and with the likes of Rory and Rickie Fowler already confirmed, we are confident that next year’s line-up will be one to remember,” she added. 
Five important things to note:
  • There will be grandstand seating for 5,000 – which is another increase, designed to make the experience as positive as possible for spectators.
  • Tickets will come with a re-entry policy (for the first time ever), so you can head out and enjoy the charms of Newcastle during the day’s play, before returning to the RCD grounds. Given the course’s proximity to the town and the foodie reputation the town enjoys, this should go down well, especially with families. For something a bit special, you could take a short spin up the road to Dundrum, where you’ll find the Mourne Seafood Bar 
Views over the 13th from the 14th tee
  • Kids… I like this one… up to four kids, under the age of 16, will get in free as long as they are with a fee paying adult. Once they see the course and the Professionals in full flow, it should encourage a few youngsters to take up the game.
  • Given the area’s natural beauty – the Mourne Mountains and Dundrum Bay for one, not to mention the Murlough Nature Reserve, which butts up against the course – this is a destination in itself, so coming for a couple of days is a definite and worthwhile option.
  • And the final thing to note is that tickets have been selling fast, so pay attention, get organised and book. And if all else fails, beg someone to buy you a ticket for Christmas. This is where you need to go: www.irishopen.ie
For accommodation (and all the other joys of Northern Ireland), it is recommended that you use the http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/accomfinder/. Alternatively, call 1850 230 230 (ROI Only) as they will have up to the minute information on availability and prices.

And if you want to see the full beauty of the golf course - here are over 80 photos of Royal County Down on Flickr.

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