Posts Tagged ‘Dunluce Links’

North of Ireland competitors to test Open lay-out at Royal Portrush

June 1, 2017

Stephen Ferris, Brand Ambassador Cathedral Eye with Andrew Spence Cathedral Eye, Eamon O’Connor Chair GUI Ulster Branch and  John Bamber, Chair of the Open Championship Committee launching the Cathedral Eye North of Ireland Amateur Open Championship 
Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

Fancy a taste of the Open Championship?
The revamped Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush will host this year’s Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Amateur Championship (July 10-14) and the GUI is still accepting entries.
The famous North Coast links has been upgraded ahead of the Open Championship in 2019 and club officials are keen to see how the new lay-out performs in Championship conditions.
The new seventh named Curran Point and eighth hole named Dunluce will be put into play and competitors will finish their rounds at the current 16th hole
“We have no evidence how the new seventh and eighth holes will play other than what professional architects have told us will happen,” said John Bamber, Chairman of the Open Championship Committee.

“The North of Ireland gives us the opportunity to get 300 top class golfers out there giving us data which will allow us to decide how we play those holes in the coming months.

“It is the perfect opportunity, a field of category one golfers, championship golfers, playing the course. What better way to assess the two new holes. I just hope we get relatively fair links conditions during the tournament.”
The new holes, designed by MacKenzie & Ebert, will actually open for play on June 24th to host Mr David McMullan’s Captain’s Day competition. For the members, it will be the first time they get to sample the course as it will be configured for the Open Championship.
“In many ways it is an historic occasion,” added Bamber.
“The last time two new holes were added to the Dunluce, people like Harry Colt were involved.
“I know that in previous years we have revamped a number of tee boxes but this is completely new. It really is something very special.”
The current 17th and 18th holes will be removed from play towards the end of the summer as work continues to create the infrastructure to host the Open Championship.
The closing date for entries into the Cathedral Eye Clinic North of Ireland Championship is June 12. For more details visit http://www.golfnet.ie.

Revamped Dunluce Links will be a top five contender claims Clarke

October 23, 2015
Ryder Cup captain and former Open winner Darren Clarke stands with the claret jug on the 6th tee at Royal Portrush Golf Club overlooking the White Rocks

Ryder Cup captain and former Open winner Darren Clarke stands with the claret jug on the 6th tee at Royal Portrush Golf Club overlooking the White Rocks

Royal Portrush is getting a make-over ahead of the 2019 Open Championship with Darren Clarke predicting the changes will power the Dunluce Link into the upper echelons of the world rankings.
Two new holes will be created to replace the current 17th and 18th holes freeing up that land to be used to accommodate the spectator village and Championship infrastructure.
A series of other changes are being made to the course under the watchful eye of Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert the club’s golf course architects, while remaining true to the ethos of Harry Colt’s original design.
“With the changes Martin is implementing, if this is not ranked in the top five in the world, I’ll be amazed,” said the 2011 Open Champion.
“This is as fair a links course as you’ll ever play. The thing about Portrush is that with the new tees, and the ones that are there, it’s so playable. There’s not many blind shots, everything is in front of you.

“You can work the ball into the greens here, you can run the ball in, which to me in the sign of a great links course. In my opinion, to be a good links player you have to be able to manage your trajectory and here you have the option to hit it along the ground if you have the talent to do so. That’s what Portrush gives you.”

The 2016 Ryder Cup captain admitted that he was initially sceptical about some of the changes proposed by Ebert but he was eventually convinced that the essential character of the course would not be diluted.
“The more I looked at them I could see the changes were going to make the course better. There’s a difference between making it tougher and making it better. He’s making it better and there’s a big difference,” added Darren.
“Who can say what Harry Colt would have done to the course now, but the changes aren’t massively different to what was there. It’s just a case of bringing the course up to a more modern links challenge. I can’t praise Martin Ebert highly enough as he is providing a modern lift to one of the best courses in the world.”

Keep up to date with the course changes via this blog by Graeme Beatt the Head Greenkeeper – https://royalportrushgolfclub.wordpress.com/

Watch a video describing the changes in detail  – https://youtu.be/uOH5WfyBsOw

Visualisation of how the new eighth tee shot will look

Visualisation of how the new eighth tee shot will look

Bringing the Open Championship back to Royal Portrush? Even the weather played ball!

October 21, 2015
(L-R) Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, Sir Richard McLaughlin, Captain of Royal Portrush Golf Club, Acting First Minister the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA, Darren Clarke, Champion Golfer of the Year at Royal  St George's in 2011 and a member at Royal Portrush, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA, Peter Unsworth, Chairman of The R&A's Championship Committee, and Martin Ebert, Course Architect pose with the Claret Jug at the announcement that The Open will return to Royal Portrush in 2019

(L-R) Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, Sir Richard McLaughlin, Captain of Royal Portrush Golf Club, Acting First Minister the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA, Darren Clarke, Champion Golfer of the Year at Royal St George’s in 2011 and a member at Royal Portrush, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA, Peter Unsworth, Chairman of The R&A’s Championship Committee, and Martin Ebert, Course Architect pose with the Claret Jug at the announcement that The Open will return to Royal Portrush in 2019

It has taken many varied elements to come together in order to bring the Open Championship back to Northern Ireland for the first time in almost 70 years.
The major success of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke shone a spotlight on Ireland and forced people to address the issue – why can’t the Open Championship come back to Royal Portrush?
When you throw in a sell-out Irish Open in 2012, government willingness and the ambition of the members at the North Coast club who accepted proposed changes to the Dunluce Links, the answer very quickly became not so much if but when?
It seems that even our notoriously unpredictable climate played a significant role in convincing R&A officials to plump for July 18-21, 2019.
“A lot of things could have impacted on the announcement,” said the club’s Head Professional, Gary McNeill.
“We have had the most incredible weather through September. That was the one thing that potentially could have gotten in the way. It allowed the guys doing the construction work on the course to make incredible progress.

“I think that contributed to why the R&A are so comfortable about bringing the event here in 2019. They know that everything will be ready well in advance. We were very lucky.”

Course preparations and the work to create two new holes are well underway. The new 7th and 8th holes will utilise land from the adjacent Valley Course to develop a new par 5 hole, playing down into the valley encompassing that course’s 6th hole, and then a par four, playing back over its 5th hole into some beautiful duneland.
The new holes will replace the current 17th and 18th holes on the Dunluce Links, freeing up that land to be used to accommodate the spectator village and Championship infrastructure.
As well as creating two new holes, a series of other changes are being made to the course to enhance the challenge that will face the world’s top golfers while remaining true to the ethos of Harry Colt’s original design.
The work is being overseen by Martin Ebert of Mackenzie & Ebert the Club’s golf course architects.

A visualisation of how the 18th green (the current 16th) will look in 2019

A visualisation of how the 18th green (the current 16th) will look in 2019

The official announcement has come as something of a relief for everyone at the club who can now focus on getting everything in place to stage the event.
“We have probably known for the last couple of months,” added Gary who succeeded the late Dai Stevenson in 1999.
“When you think about it, it is only last summer that we had the announcement we were back on the rota.
“The earliest we were told we could host the event was 2019. Here we are just 16 month later and we are confirming the year and even the date it is taking place.
“It is just brilliant. The dust will settle in a day or two and we will get stuck in.”
And he continued; “The Irish Open proved that we could handle a big event, the infrastructure, crowds and transport issues etc. That was the cataylst that drove this forward. Then you had Rory and Darren and Graeme bringing publicity to the area.
“Once you put everything together and look at the quality of the golf course and potentially, the changes which will really enhance it, you have the whole package.”

http://www.theopen.com/News/News/2015/10/Royal-Portrush-to-host-The-148th-Open-in-2019