1. Royal County Down. Does anything more need to be said about a course that is often ranked as the best links in the world. Oh sure, you won't get to play it at the Irish Open (28-31 May), but you'll get to see the world's best golfers tackle this remarkable course.
|Copyright Getty Images|
2. Ireland's Best. Rory, G-Mac, Padraig, Darren, Shane... and no doubt a few other gifted Irish professionals and amateurs will add some wonderful Irish flavour to proceedings.
|Royal County Down's par three 4th hole, with golfers waiting|
on the 5th tee above right.
|The tee shot on the 9th (aim at the spire).|
|The approach to the green on the 9th.|
5. The Par 4 13th. Such a sweet par four that drifts down and left, even though you can see the marker peaking up above the dunes to the right. Watching the Professionals hit approach shots to a steep green, from the path between 13 and 14, will be one of the highlights. See photo below.
|The glorious 13th green to tee.|
- The prices are a bargain (£35), with up to 4 kids under 16 going free, per adult ticket.
- There will be more stands (for 5,000) than at any other European Tour event.
- There will be a re-entry policy for all ticket holders (for the 1st time ever), so visitors can take a break and wander around Newcastle (check out the Fringe Festival Comedy Night, the Food & Blues Festival, and various other events and activities.
- Never mind being one of the best golf courses on the planet, Royal County Down is also one of the most beautiful.
- There are only 20,000 tickets per day (compared to 30,000 at Fota Island last year), so you will need to book.
7. The Par 3 7th. The par 3 4th may garner all the attention for its stunning backdrop and its length/difficulty, but the shortest par 3, at just 145 yards for the Pros, is an absolute terror. If you don't stay on the putting surface then par is as good as gone. For such a short hole it will make a fool of any number of Professionals over the four days. And it's Index 17.
|The devilish par three 7th at Royal County Down.|
|The wall at the back of the restaurant (note a certain Harry Vardon).|
|Views from the highest dune back over the course.|
See one of the very best golf courses in the world and a stellar cast of Professionals trying to understand and overcome its idiosyncrasies (bearded bunkers, anyone!) and challenges. Make this year the year to attend the Irish Open.