Posts Tagged ‘Holywood GC’

Team NI target three-in-a-row following sensational 2017 Belfast golfing experience

January 4, 2018

Team NI celebrate Writer Cup 2017 success

Whisper it quietly, but the worm may have turned.
Northern Ireland’s golfing journalists retained the Writer Cup in 2017. That’s right, two in row! So long the whipping boys, Team NI has finally found a backbone.
The eighth edition of the Writer Cup – the Ryder Cup style event hosted by Tourism NI that pitches Northern Ireland journalists against Republic of Ireland journalists was played at Holywood GC and Royal Belfast GC.
While most of the golfing focus in Northern Ireland gravitates towards our classic links venues – Royal Portrush, RCD, Portstewart etc – Belfast can provide a unique golfing experience of its own.
Nine-holers, municipal courses, Championship venues – Belfast has pretty much every option available. There’s driving ranges and even an indoor facility – Citi Golf – when the conditions take a turn for the worse.
Staying and playing in Belfast means you can make the most of a city that has been branded ‘the best place to visit in 2018’ by top travel guide Lonely Planet.
Inspired by the surroundings of Rory McIlroy’s home course, Team NI completed a day one whitewash in the fourballs at Holywood GC to grab a commanding 4-0 lead.
The teams were treated to a wonderful evening meal at Belfast’s McHugh’s Bar after which they retreated to their base for the evening, the Hilton Hotel, near the iconic Waterfront Hall.
Team ROI had a mountain to climb in the day two singles which were staged at the historic Royal Belfast GC.
Needing just two points to retain the title a comfortable victory appeared on the cards for the ‘home’ side.
In the end, the outcome was much closer than anyone expected with ROI winning the singles 4.5 to 3.5.
It was not enough (thankfully) to prevent Team NI collecting the trophy for the second year in succession by a 7.5 to 4.5 margin. Can they make it a hat-trick of successes in 2018?

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Holywood GC and Royal Belfast are both situated just outside Belfast within 30 minutes drive of the Hilton Hotel.

Plans for new clubhouse at Holywood GC

Holywood GC

Holywood GC has recently embarked on an ambitious development plan which will transform the club in the next 18 months.
The clubhouse is set for a major upgrade to include new facilities including, a state of the art fitness suite, an indoor golf simulator and entertainment room and a Golf Academy complete with the latest technology.
In preparation for these changes, the 18th green has already been moved further away from the clubhouse and remodelled. The course is an 18 hole undulating parkland neighbouring Redburn Country Park. It overlooks the city and Belfast Lough with views that are unrivalled in the area.
To score well requires accurate driving as opposed to length and good approach shots are needed to find the greens.
Rory McIlroy stated that; “Holywood was a great course for me to learn the game on, it has all the traits that develop your game from playing it regularly. It helps you to learn to shape your shots, places emphasis on your short game and creates more versatile and adaptable golf game through the variety of different shots encountered. I have no doubt that the course helped me to become the golfer I am today.”

Looking down in the eighth green and to the left the ninth fairway at Royal Belfast

Royal Belfast
Founded in 1881, Royal Belfast Golf Club lays claim to the title of the oldest golf course in Ireland. The present layout dates back to 1925, when responsibility for the design was handed to the now revered course architect Harry Colt.
With the assistance of Walker Cup player W.A. Murray, Colt produced a course of great charm which provides a true test of skill and enjoys unrivalled views of Belfast Lough and the Antrim plateau beyond.
Royal Belfast is always meticulously maintained with impeccable greens and groves of rhododendrons and gorse providing a colourful backdrop in spring. There is a secluded, timeless feel to the club, one that has attracted the likes of tour players Michael Hoey and Rory McIlroy to play and practice at the venue.
At the heart of its varied challenges is the constant requirement for accuracy rather than length, providing all levels of golfer with a fair test of golf. The numerous bunkers and subtly sloped greens ensure that posting a low score is indeed a difficult feat.
It offers a stern golfing challenge, and the club has hosted numerous championships, most recently the Senior British Open Amateur Championship won by Spain’s Macarena Campomanes Eguiguren


Robert Moran wins at Lough Erne to secure place in Faldo Series Grand Final

April 7, 2017

Robert Moran (Castle) won the 2017 Faldo Series Ireland Championship

Robert Moran produced the best round of the day to win the Faldo Series Ireland at Lough Erne Resort by a single shot.
The Castle GC member fired an excellent final round of 69 – four shots better than any other player on the day – to book his ticket to the illustrious Faldo Series Grand Final.
The competitors battled tough windy conditions at the famed Faldo Course. Two brilliant rounds from the top two players aside, every other golfer posted 72 or over.
Moran was off the pace on day one but he hung in until he finally overhauled David Kitt (Athenry) on the 16th hole of the final day.
Kitt can count himself incredibly unfortunate not to make the Faldo Series Grand Final. His opening round of 68 was an exhilarating exhibition of golf but his fellow Under-18 competitor Moran was also in sublime form.
Rory Williamson (Holywood) came to Lough Erne as the defending Champion. Although unable to defend his title, he won the Under-21 section by three shots.
He was also only two shots behind the overall victor. A sumptuous eagle on the difficult ninth hole was the highlight of the day for Williamson who will go to his second Grand Final in September.
Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) will line up in her first Grand Final after winning the Under-21 Girls’ section.
Forbes overcame some shaky moments to claim a one-shot victory over Gemma McCarthy (Clonmel). McCarthy finished well but had to eventually settle for runner-up.
Anna Foster (Elm Park) edged out Ella Hammond-Baveystock (Wentworth) to win the Girls’ Under-16 category by one shot. Foster birdied the 17th to seal the win and will head to her first Faldo Series Grand Final.

Leading final scores: Faldo Series Ireland
Boys Collated Results
Girls Collated Results

Selected Scores
Boys’ Under-21: 145 – Rory Williamson (Holywood) 72-73; 148 – Shane McDermott (Cavan) 74-74, Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 73-75.
Boys’ Under-18: 143 – Robert Moran (Castle) 74-69; 144 –David Kitt (Athenry) 68-76.
Girls’ Under 21: 165 – Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 82-83; 166 – Gemma Mccarthy (Clonmel) 86-80.
Girls’ Under-16: 172 – Anna Foster (Elm Park) 88-84; 173 Ella Hammond-Baveystock (Wentworth) 86-87.

For full scores and results from the Faldo Series Ireland Championship visit You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at and on Twitter


Williamson to defend Faldo Series Ireland title at Lough Erne Resort

March 27, 2017

The new Faldo Series season begins at the stunning Lough Erne Resort on April 3-4.
Lough Erne will welcome a field brimming with talent for the tenth Faldo Series Ireland Championship with places in the 21st Faldo Series Grand Final awaiting the age group winners.
Competitors aged 12 to 21 still have an opportunity to enter the Faldo Series Ireland Championship.
Any entrants will be wary of defending champion, Holywood’s Rory Williamson, whose mastery of the conditions in his final round was decisive in winning the tournament in 2016.
Irishmen Paddy Culhane and Eoin Murphy have shown form in the Faldo Series and will look to depose Williamson to take the glory for themselves.
Around 90 golfers will line up in the tenth Ireland Championship, to be played over two rounds on the Faldo Course at Lough Erne.
The field will be divided into five age-groups – three for boys and two for girls – and the winners of each division will again join Faldo at the season-ending 21st Faldo Series Grand Final, a 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking event.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year.
Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

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Rory Williamson wins Faldo Series Ireland crown

April 21, 2016
Rory Williamson

Rory Williamson

Holywood’s Rory Williamson won the Faldo Series Ireland Championship by a single shot on the Faldo Course. Williamson fired rounds of 71/69 to hold off the fierce challenges of Shane McDermott and Jamie Fletcher, who finished in joint second place overall.
The tournament attracted 96 players to the renowned Faldo Course at Lough Erne Golf Resort, with the five category winners qualifying for the 20th Faldo Series Grand Final.
Williamson was very satisfied with his final round in particular, his back nine and birdies on 17 and 18 to get him home in 32. The score was made all the more impressive by the pressure being exerted from the chasing pack.
Williamson won the Boys’ Under-21 by a single stroke but the Boys’ Under-18 was more conclusive. Peter Cummins (Lurgan) has showcased his talent in the Faldo Series previously, and so it was again as he shot 75/70 to win by four strokes. Cummins was able to seize the birdie chances on the back nine to post a great score on the testing Faldo Designed layout.
Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) was the victor in the Boys’ Under-16 division. He claimed the spoils by four shots over Conor Glennon (Glasson). Murphy’s rounds of 74/70 at such a venue will fill him with confidence. Murphy’s efforts also grant him qualification to his first Faldo Series Grand Final.
The Girls’ Under-21 category was claimed by Mary Doyle (The Heath) by five shots over Maeve Cummins. Doyle was able to lead from start to finish in rounds of 74/77. The Girls’ Under 16 division was a closer affair as Anna Foster of Elm Park edged out Kate Dwyer by a single shot. Foster headed home in 33 on the final day to take the glory. Both Doyle and Foster qualified for the Grand Final later this year.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching thousands of golfers each year. Past winners include Major Champions Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at the 2014 Open Championship and US PGA Championship.

Leading final scores: Boys’ Under-21: 140 – Rory Williamson (Holywood) 71-69; 141–Shane McDermott (Cavan Golf Club) 72-69, Jamie Richard Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 70-71.
Boys’ Under 18: 145 – Peter Cummins (Lurgan) 75-70; 149 – Paddy Culhane (Galway GC) 74-75, Robert Moran (Castle) 75-74.
Boys’ Under 16: 144 – Eoin Murphy (Dundalk) 74-70; 148 – Conor Glennon (Glasson) 72-76.
Girls’ Under 21: 151 – Mary Doyle (The Heath) 74-77; 156 – Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 79-77.
Girls’ Under 16: 169 – Anna Foster (Elm Park) 93-76; 170 – Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 85-85.

Copy via Faldo Series


Rory rallies clubs to support the Irish Open

January 28, 2016

Rory McIlroy is urging golf clubs across Ireland to embrace this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation and help make it one of ‘the best ever’.
“The Irish Open has always been very close to my heart but I would love this year’s event to be even more special as it will once again be hosted by the Rory Foundation,” said Rory.
Rory is fiercely proud of where he comes from and has been a great ambassador for Irish golf. Now he’s determined to maintain the Irish Open’s position as one of the premier events on the European Tour.
Rory added; “We are truly blessed with loads of great, accessible courses which I have no doubt has played a big part in Ireland punching well above its weight with the exceptional golfing talent we have produced, north and south, over the years.”
The Holywood golfer has produced a ‘five point plan’ to help clubs and their members to get involved in the tournament which takes place at The K Club in Co. Kildare from May 19-22.

“We can achieve this if we all pull together, which is why I’m asking clubs to embrace this year’s event, get involved and help make it one of the best ever. I’m really looking forward to working with our golf clubs to promote what I believe is one of the best tournaments on the professional circuit – in one of the best golfing destinations in the world.”

A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to children’s charities around the world.
This year will also be the first time that The K Club will host Ireland’s national Open, fittingly on the 10th anniversary of the course hosting Europe’s memorable victory over the USA in the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Rory’s Five-point Plan.

1) Play in the Pro-Am competition – The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge
Title sponsor Dubai Duty Free is offering one lucky team from an Irish golf club the unique opportunity to play in this year’s Pro-Am. So Rory, in conjunction with the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU), is asking all clubs in Ireland, north and south, to use existing competitions to find a Men’s and Ladies’ champion (Junior members also eligible to compete) to represent their club in regional qualifiers in late April with a national final to be held on the Smurfit Course at The K Club in early May. The overall winning team, which will also include an official nominated by the winning club, will receive a team invitation to compete alongside a top professional in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am. Full details on how to enter will be available at

2) The Irish Open Skills Challenge 
To encourage young golfers to be the best that they can be, Rory has teamed up with Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and The European Tour to encourage golf clubs to take part in this competition which is designed to help children under the age of 15 to develop their Putting, Chipping, Iron Play and Driving skills in a team environment.
Rory is asking every club in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to enter an U15 Boys’ team and an U15 Girls’ team in the provincial qualifiers, with four players per team – each specialising in one of the four particular skills. The four individual skill scores are combined to make up a final team score and the winning team from the national final will win a unique ‘meet and greet’ opportunity with a top player at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am. Full details on how to enter will be available at

3) Get Into Golf With Rory
One of Rory’s key aims this year is to encourage children who have never picked up a club to take an interest in golf. So he has joined forces with the CGI to develop an exciting new schools programme called Get Into Golf With Rory.
Throughout the country, more than 30 clubs have been selected to run a five-week primary school coaching programme with follow-on activities and membership packages. Schools have yet to be selected but the overall aim of the programme is to offer thousands of primary school pupils the opportunity to get their first taste of golf and create a pathway to continue golf in their local golf club. Full details on the Get Into Golf With Rory programme will be available at

4) Group deals for Clubs
From his early days at Holywood Golf Club, Rory has always loved the camaraderie and community spirit of golf clubs so this year he is encouraging clubs to enjoy the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open experience as a club. To help with this, the European Tour and Rory have created a number of special ticket and coach offers that are exclusive to golf clubs. So hop on board – and why not bring the family too for a great day out! What’s more, Rory will give the top four clubs who bring the most members as a group a personally signed Pin Flag to proudly display in their clubhouse! Details on how clubs can travel as a group to this year’s Irish Open will be available at

5) Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Ambassadors
It takes someone very special to bring these ideas together for the club so Rory is asking every golf club in Ireland to nominate one individual as its Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Ambassador who will be the main point of contact for all of these proposed club initiatives – and all things relating to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Clubs wanting to nominate their Ambassador should email

Rory McIlroy’s home course getting the Holywood treatment from Swan Golf Designs

December 1, 2015
On-going work at Holywood Golf Club

The par three sixth at Holywood GC

Swan Golf Designs is putting on a bit of Holywood glamour as it approaches the completion of the latest development stage of Rory McIlroy’s home course in Northern Ireland.
Howard Swan, from the family-owned, Suffolk-based architectural practice, first went to Holywood some 15 years ago when the four-time Major winner was still a junior, practising endlessly at the course and honing his skills.
The renovation of the parkland golf course – which sits on the North Down escarpment of Belfast Lough – began all those years ago and has steadily built momentum to result in the quite excellent course of today.
The club has prospered in recent years because of a much greater visitor interest heightened by McIlroy’s rise to prominence, and, consequently, it now boasts a museum and exhibition about him.
There has been a significant increase in the number of green fees with many Americans adding Holywood to their itineraries and this has meant the course’s improvement programme has sustained, allowing the Swans to return regularly to continue their redesign work.
Swan said: “The course is laid out over only about 100 acres, which is small in modern-day terms, and the holes are tightly contained on the lower and higher plateaux of the land.

“One of our major challenges has been to ensure golf can be played there safely and we have been making modifications to the layout in order to improve this aspect of its design. The club has been very vigilant about the historical importance, and the sensitivity, of the 1904 design – it seems likely that James Braid was there at some time – in terms of ensuring that dangers of escaping balls were kept to a minimum, as there is housing and a busy public road bordering the course.

“So we have carried out a series of risk assessments which has led to a safety master plan, and those elements of redesign and rerouting which were necessitated.”
McIlroy’s legacy has allowed the Swans to continue their work at Holywood: a new sixth hole has been provided this year, with work ongoing on the bunkering and reorientation of the seventh and eighth.
All of which is helping the club push on with its long-term improvement programme and also to sustain its reputation as one of the country’s most progressive and successful clubs.
SGD is an independent and professional golf course architecture firm with a track record of providing clients with successful design solutions on golf course projects for more than 50 years.

copy courtesy of The Azalea Group

Carty claims Ulster Women’s Championship

April 18, 2013
Jessica Carty (left), winner of the Hughes Insurance Ulster Women's Championship with Violet McBride, winner of the Teddy Morrison Trophy

Jessica Carty (left), winner of the Hughes Insurance Ulster Women’s Championship with Violet McBride, winner of the Teddy Morrison Trophy

JESSICA Carty made full use of ‘home’ advantage to the win the Ulster Women’s Championship at a wet and windy Belvoir Park GC.
The 18-year-old student held off the challenge from Lurgan’s Niamh McSherry to claim her first ‘senior’ title by 4&3.
“It was a tough week with Belvoir playing very long so I think a wee bit of local knowledge was important,” said the Irish international.
Carty’s home club is actually Holywood GC, famous as the breeding ground for one Rory McIlroy, but she also retains a membership at Belvoir.
With a small field, less than 30 entrants, Carty, who won the Irish Girls’ Championship last year, entered the tournament as one of the favourites alongside Louise Coffey (Malone), Laura Grant (Lisburn) and experienced international Lucy Simpson (Massereene).
Having qualified in third place, she beat Zoe Allen (Lurgan), Niamh Ward (Lurgan) and then Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) on the 19th in the semi-finals to book her place in the final against McSherry.
“The matches against Niamh and Chloe were tough. I didn’t play that well against Chloe in the semi-final but I just hung in to finally beat her,” added Jessica who will take up a golf scholarship at the University of Denver in the autumn.
“In the final I turned it around and played some of my best golf of the week. I think I was two under when the match finished.”

Jessica Carty (Holywood) bt Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 4&3
Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) bt Laura Grant (Lisburn) 1up
Jessica Carty (Holywood) bt Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) at 19th
Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) bt Louise Coffey (Malone) 3&2
Laura Grant (Lisburn) bt Violet McBride (Belvoir Park) 6&5
Jessica Carty (Holywood) bt Niamh Ward (Lurgan) 1 up
Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) bt Lucy Simpson (Masseerene) 5&4
Louise Coffey (Malone) bt Pauline Bailie (Belvoir Park) 6&5
Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) bt Kelsey Coey (Clandeboye) 4&3
Laura Grant (Lisburn) bt Cliodhna McCarthy (Stackstown) 4&2
Violet McBride (Belvoir Park) bt Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor) 3&2
Jessica Carty (Holywood) bt Zoe Allen (Lurgan) 3&1
Niamh Ward (lurgan) bt Judithe Allen (Ballyclare) 4&3
Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) bt Victoria Craig (Clandeboye) 5&3
Lucy Simpson (Masseerene) bt Marilyn Henderson (Royal Belfast) 7&6
154 Louise Coffey (Malone) 81 73
156 Lucy Simpson (Masserene) 79 77
158 Jessica Carty (Holywood) 81 77
161 Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor) 82 79
165 Laura Grant (Lisburn) 83 82
169 Niamh Ward (Lurgan) 87 82
170 Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) 90 80
171 Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 89 82
172 Kelsey Coey (Clandeboye) 85 87
175 Victoria Craig (Clandeboye) 89 86
176 Judithe Allen (Ballyclare) 86 90
177 Cliodhna McCarthy (Stackstown) 89 88 Violet McBride (Belvoir Park) 87 90
182 Zoe Allen (Lurgan) 90 92
184 Marilyn Henderson (Royal Belfast) 94 90
186 Pauline Bailie (Belvoir Park)93 93
Missed cut
186 Victoria Alexander (Holywood) 88 98
187 Anita McCaw (RCD Ladies) 97 90
190 Dasha Kovalenko (Rossmore) 99 91 Danielle Storey (Holywood) 91 99
191 Brooke Hopley (Clandeboye) 92 99
195 Dawn Scarborough (Temple) 101 94 Fionnuala McGrady (Dunmurry) 97 98




Gray gets on his bike for Marie Curie

February 17, 2011

PAUL Gray, the  Club Manager at Holywood GC, is preparing for a 350 mile cycle challenge in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Last November a friend of Paul’s, Cois Beukes (35), lost his 10-month battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, leaving behind a wife and young daughter.

“Cois proved to be an inspiration throughout his life and, through his passion and involvement with rugby as a player and a coach, he had an incredible way of caring for others,” said Gray.

The Cois Beukes 3 Nations Cycle Challenge will be held in May and will take four days to complete as it winds it’s way through Wales, England and Ireland.

The route is planned to mirror the journey that Cois took when he first moved from South Africa to Cardiff.

“Two of the four days will be spent cycling up to 100 miles per day through the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia national parks. Those are areas that I believe have the odd hill,” cracks Paul.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Twenty people have signed up to take part in the sponsored charity cycle, including Belvoir Park assistant Will Carey. However, Gray is looking for many more people, including fellow professionals, to take part as the target set is £70,000.

Anyone who is interested in donating can do so on line at

A fund raising event will also be held at Holywood Golf Club on Saturday, April 16. Tickets are £10 each and available from Paul Gray at 028 90423135 or e-mail