Posts Tagged ‘Lough Erne Resort’

Lough Erne misses out on Irish Open amid claims Euro Tour is now pursuing ‘links strategy’

April 12, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

There is a great sense of frustration in the statement released by the owners of the Lough Erne Resort following the European Tour’s announcement that the Co Fermanagh venue would not be hosting the Irish Open in 2017.
Tourism NI officials were informed at the weekend of the European Tour’s decision and Monday’s official confirmation only served to rubber-stamp what was already a widely held belief.

Read this report from earlier in the year.

The European Tour can today confirm that the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation will not take place at the Lough Erne Resort.
European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “During a recent visit to the Lough Erne Resort, I was delighted to meet with the owners and to learn more about their significant investment plans for the golf course and hotel. It is a beautiful facility with an outstanding championship golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
While the 2017 Irish Open will not be staged at Lough Erne, the European Tour looks forward to working with the new ownership consortium, and I am confident that the Lough Erne Resort will host an event with the European Tour in the future.
“Details of the 2017 venue will be announced in due course, but in the meantime we are solely focused on ensuring that the 2016 tournament, which will be staged at The K Club in County Kildare in six weeks’ time, is a great success.”

It looks like there is a promise of an event of some type in the future but that will be of little consolation for everyone at Lough Erne and in Fermanagh as a whole.
The Irish Open is big business and usually provides a major boost to the local economy. It appears that Portstewart GC will reap the rewards, particularly as according to the Lough Erne statement the European Tour is now pursuing a ‘traditional links course strategy’.

“We are extremely disappointed that the European Tour has announced a change in its decision to hold the 2017 Irish Open Championship at Lough Erne Resort. From the day we acquired the Resort, we have been excited and committed to hosting the event, and we have never waivered from that commitment.
We have in fact continued to make additional investments in the course and the Resort facilities, both of which are in superior condition to when the 2014 announcement was made.
But, over the last several months, senior tour officials began telling us that European Tour management was considering a ‘traditional links course strategy’ for future Irish Opens, and because of that new strategy there had been indications that the 2017 date at Lough Erne might be in jeopardy.
From the beginning of those conversations, we have remained steadfast in our position not to accept this change from the Tour, and we have spent the last few months trying to work with Tour officials at the highest level to persuade them to keep their commitment to Lough Erne Resort and the region.
However, despite our willingness to work with the Tour in every way to convince them to maintain their commitment, they have made the decision to change the venue to a traditional links course in 2017 and at this point we have no choice but to accept it. We are disappointed not only for the Resort, but also for our staff and the good people of County Fermanagh.
We have to accept the decision that the Tour has made, with its strategic commitment to links golf in the Irish Open for the near future, and we do welcome the decision to keep the Open in Northern Ireland next year.
If and when that strategy changes, Lough Erne Resort looks forward to being first in line to host the next Irish Open that is not on a links course.
We would like to thank all of those that worked so hard on initially obtaining this event for Lough Erne Resort. We would especially like to thank officials of the Northern Ireland Government for their unwavering support for Lough Erne Resort and for doing everything possible to avoid this outcome.
While we are clearly disappointed with the European Tour’s decision, the Resort’s ownership group remains committed to working with Tour officials towards bringing a future Irish Open or an equivalent event to Lough Erne Resort.”

A ‘links strategy’ has long been mooted for the Irish Open but to my mind, this is the first time it has been referred to as tour policy. It will be interesting to see if Tour officially confirm that they only want to take the Irish Open to links venues in the future. If that’s the case, the likes of Mount Juliet and the soon to be refurbished Adare Manor Resort might be reconsidering their own ambitions.
On a more positive note the Lough Erne statement reveals that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2017 although, once again, that has clearly not been confirmed by the European Tour.
If the Tour is following a links strategy, then by a process of elimination, Portstewart will be the host venue given that Royal Portrush is currently being redeveloped for The Open and Royal County Down is highly unlikely to take it back so soon after the staging in 2015.
None of this will be going down well amongst the corridors of power at the NI Executive who made a significant commitment to the European Tour in 2014 when the Lough Erne announcement was first made.
If the tour is working on a links course strategy then it flies in the face of the government’s strategic plans to grow the value of the golf tourism business in Northern Ireland. Could that jeopardise any further financial and logistical investment from the Stormont Executive in the Irish Open??
For background on the NI Golf tourism strategy read – The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

A spokesperson for Tourism NI said; “Together with the NI Executive, Tourism NI has been working towards staging the tournament at Lough Erne Resort, as announced by the European Tour in April 2014.
“We are therefore extremely disappointed at today’s decision by the European Tour not to stage the Irish Open at Lough Erne in 2017, which was formally communicated to us over the weekend.
“We have requested an urgent meeting with the European Tour to discuss options open to the Executive following the announcement, and where this decision leaves plans for the return of the Irish Open to Northern Ireland which is a matter of contractual agreement.
“We welcome the European Tour’s commitment to Lough Erne in the future and expect these plans to be forthcoming as a matter of urgency.”

Sean Doyle returns to defend Faldo Series title at Lough Erne

April 10, 2016
Under 18  and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne's Lynn McCool

Under 18 and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne’s Lynn McCool

Defending champion Sean Doyle of Athlone will be among the top young Irish golfers competing in the ninth Faldo Series Ireland Championship on the world renowned Faldo Course at Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland on April 12-13.
A field of more than 100 golfers aged 12 to 21 will compete in the Faldo Series Ireland Championship over two rounds on the Faldo Course. Other notable competitors include 19-year-old Ireland squad member Ted Collins (Dun Laoghaire) and Paddy Culhane (Galway GC), both have previously appeared at Grand Finals.
“The Ireland Championship at Lough Erne provides a thorough test on a great course against very good young players.” commented Sir Nick Faldo.
“We thank Lough Erne for their continued support for the Faldo Series and we’re pleased the event gets stronger each year even after nine editions.”
“The Ireland Championship at Lough Erne is an incredibly attractive event for talented young golfers from all across the island.” commented Lynn McCool, Director of Golf at Lough Erne.
“To be hosting our ninth edition in the Faldo Series 20th year is a great way for us to support the on-going efforts of Sir Nick’s vision. We have another great field next week and we hope that the players will enjoy the test that Lough Erne will provide them.”
Competitors will be divided into five age categories, three for boys and two for girls, with the winner of each category qualifying for the 20th European Grand Final, a World Amateur Golf Ranking event
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.
You can follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at and on Twitter at


In Northern Ireland only the journalists aren’t Made for Golf

March 13, 2016
Team NI - 3-1 and full of hope before the collapse at Lough Erne

Team NI – 3-1 up and full of hope before the collapse at Lough Erne

We’re rightly proud of our golfing success stories in Northern Ireland – our major winners, amateur stars and Championship venues.
The exploits of Rory, Graeme, Darren, Cormac, Stephanie and Olivia are headline news in this wee corner of Europe.
We have the players and we also have the golfing product, a course to match every price range and ability. Everything from glorious Championship links like Royal County Down and Royal Portrush to hidden gems like Kilkeel and Ardglass.
So we can be forgiven for getting ever so slightly carried away – maybe even a little bit smug on occasion.
Northern Ireland is #MadeforGolf* – although, based on recent performances, the golfing media should possibly be excluded from that particular description.
The stats don’t lie. In six editions of the annual ‘Writer Cup’ – the Ryder Cup style event pitching Northern Ireland journalists against Republic of Ireland journalists – the North has won just once, the first one – I played in it and it seems a lifetime ago.
Since then, it’s been something of a tale of woe for Northern Ireland.
We’ve played some wonderful courses over the years; Castlerock, Galgorm Castle, Kirkistown and Malone have all rolled out the red carpet for our Southern visitors but the welcome has not been matched by the golfing performance of the ‘home’ team.

The 2015 staging of the event hosted annually by Tourism NI was supposed to be different. Some young blood had been drafted in to add a bit of energy to the Northern Ireland side and the venues seemed tailor-made to finally end the pain.
Day one would be spent at Dungannon GC. Darren Clarke, the 2016 European Ryder Cup captain, spent his formative years at the Co Tyrone venue and if it was good enough for him….
Day two would find the eight man teams at Lough Erne Resort. The named venue for the 2017 Irish Open and coincidentally the site of the North’s only victory in the Writer Cup – surely it was a lucky omen.
Dungannon GC was founded in 1890 and is one of the original founder clubs of the Golfing Union of Ireland. The parkland course has been extended in recent years with some input from Darren Clarke.

The 9th at Dungannon GC

The 9th at Dungannon GC

Water hazards feature on three of the extended holes. The signature hole, the par three ninth is now called “Darren Clarke” which features a fairly narrow, ribbon-like crescent-shaped green which is completely protected from the tee by a pond. In 2009 six new greens, designed by international course architect Patrick Merrigan, opened on the back nine.
It’s no frills, honest golf and it clearly suited team Northern Ireland as did the fourball format. So much so that by the end of day one, Northern Ireland had grabbed a significant 3-1 lead.
As you might well guess, spirits were high amongst the leaders as the teams left Dungannon to travel to Enniskillen for an overnight stay at the luxurious Lough Erne Resort.

The 8th at Lough Erne

The 8th at Lough Erne

Designed by six-time major champion, Nick Faldo, the championship course at Lough Erne opened for play in 2009. Measuring 7,167 yards and playing to a par 72, the Faldo Course is an exciting challenge for golfers of all abilities
Situated between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne, 14 of the holes have water in play, highlighted by the iconic 10th Hole, ‘Emerald Isle’ where the green is surrounded on three sides by water.
The luxury five-star resort also boasts a second 18-hole course – Castle Hume – and a state of the art practice range and academy. Guests can stay in one of the 120 luxury rooms and suites, make use of the Thai Spa and enjoy some innovative dining experiences.
With the fine dining, excellent hospitality and the superb facilities on site it seemed that everything was pointing towards a breakthrough win for Northern Ireland on day two but somehow the tables were turned in the Fermanagh sun.

It’s hard to know exactly what went wrong. Maybe it was nerves, or more likely the after effects of the late-night sing-song. Either way, the visitors produced a stunning singles fight back, bagging five and a half points from the eight on offer to retain the trophy for a fifth successive year.
As 2015 NI captain I shouldered much of the responsibility for defeat. On reflection, my pre-round pep-talk when I urged the squad to put ‘the water hazard down the right of the first fairway’ out of their minds probably wasn’t ideal. In the circumstances, I could hardly complain when my heartfelt resignation was met with a round of applause.

Lynn McCool working with team NI's Phil Finnegan

Lynn McCool trying to give team NI’s Phil Finnegan some tips

Personally, I blame Lough Erne’s Head professional Lynn McCool, who hosted a coaching clinic prior to tee off which clearly made all the difference to our ‘guests’ – they paid more attention than the home side who were too busy slashing away at the range balls to take in Lynn’s tips for success.
In the wake of this latest defeat, there has been calls for a task force to be set up and talk of a root and branch review of the selection policy.
One thing is certain, with so many things going right for golf in Northern Ireland, the journalists are letting the side down.
Something must be done to stop the rot in 2016.

*Tourism NI

For details on playing Lough Erne Resort or Dungannon GC follow the links

For more info on golf in Northern Ireland visit

The victorious 2015 ROI Team

The victorious 2015 ROI Team


Grab your chance to face off against the US at Lough Erne Resort

February 19, 2016
The 10th at Lough Erne

The 10th at Lough Erne

Ever dreamed of playing your part in a famous Ryder Cup victory over the United States?
Well now you can win a place on a 16-man Irish team to tackle the US this April at Lough Erne Resort.
The inaugural King’s Cup will take place at the spectacular Co Fermanagh venue from April 27th to 29th. Hosted by sports broadcaster Jim Kelly and captured by producer Jim Lepera, the event is set to be a brilliant showcase of golf in Fermanagh and Northern Ireland.
The three-day, 54-hole match play tournament structured similar to the Ryder Cup has been created by the United States Golf Challenge, the largest and best two man best-ball competition in the US.
The United States Team at the inaugural King’s Cup will be made up of the top team in each flight at the 2015 US Golf Challenge National Championships.
For your opportunity to be part of this exciting inaugural competition, there are two Irish qualifiers – the first at Lough Erne Resort on Saturday 5th March, and the second at Hilton Templepatrick on Saturday 12th March, entrants must be 18 years and over.
Lynn McCool, Director of Golf & Head Professional at Lough Erne Resort will captain the 2016 Irish team and has opened up eight spots to qualifiers.
With an entry fee of £40pp, the qualifiers will be determined using the single Stableford system, and there are qualifying spots at each of the two venues for the following handicaps categories : 2 spots x handicap 0 to 4.9, 1 spot x handicap 5 to 11.9, 1 x handicap 12 to 18,
To qualify for the Irish team all competitors must hold an official handicap and be available to play the matchplay event at Lough Erne Resort on April 27th to April 29th as well as being available to attend the Welcome Party on Tuesday 26th April and Prize Presentation Dinner on Friday 29th April.
With a practice round taking place on April 26th, team members will be dressed in Glenmuir clothing all the days, the first annual King’s Cup between the US and Ireland is an opportunity to represent Ireland while playing on one of the finest golf resorts in the country.

To book your spot contact:
Saturday March 5
Lough Erne Resort 
Tel: 028 66 345766 or ROI 048 66 345766

Saturday March 12
Hilton Templepatrick
Tel: 02894 435542



The Irish Open, Lough Erne and the government’s £50million tourism strategy

February 1, 2016
ENNISKILLEN, NORTHERN IRELAND - OCTOBER 20: The approach to the 637 yards par 5, 9th hole 'Halfway House' on the Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort on October 20, 2010 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The approach to the 637 yards par 5, 9th hole ‘Halfway House’ on the Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort

You may have read or heard some of the golf chatter about the Irish Open and the Lough Erne Resort during the week.

The short version goes like this – Back in April 2014 the European Tour, the Northern Ireland Executive and Tourism NI unveiled a deal to bring the Irish Open to Northern Ireland in 2015 (Royal County Down) and 2017 (Lough Erne Resort).
Last Thursday, whilst announcing ambitious plans for the 2016 staging at the K Club, a European Tour representative made it very clear that no decision had been taken about a venue for 2017.
Naturally enough this caused a certain amount of confusion and I dare say, consternation, for the good people at Lough Erne who, it should be known, spent last week at the PGA Show in Orlando marketing themselves as the ‘Home of the 2017 Irish Open’.
In response, Lough Erne issued a very bullish statement on Friday, in which they made it clear that as far as the owners and management were concerned, it was business as usual and they were planning to host the Irish Open in 2017.

You can read full details here:-
http://Lough Erne could miss out on 2017 Irish Open

http://Lough Erne Resort insist plans are in place to host Irish Open 2017

You may think, so what – as long as the Irish Open is successful, draws decent crowds, has a large prize fund and attracts some of the world’s best players you don’t care where it’s played, North or South of the border.
You may even be of the opinion that the Irish Open should always be on a classic links course and in an ideal world it would be played before the Open Championship as part of a ‘links swing’ alongside the Scottish Open.
Which is all well and good but the Irish Open exists in the real world and there’s politics in play here – not just golf politics – proper government politics.
In March 2015 Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster – who was then the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment – launched a strategy which aims to grow the value of golf tourism in Northern Ireland to £50 million a year by 2020.

You can read it yourself here –

Major golfing events such are the Irish Open are considered – ‘key economic drivers’ and to all intents and purposes Northern Ireland looked to have got things perfectly organised – Irish Opens in 2015, 2017 and then the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in 2019.

Based on the strategy. taking the Irish Open to Lough Erne is part of a wider plan to prove that the Northern Ireland golf product has more to offer than simply links golf – which makes sense when you are trying to grow an entire sector by £17 million in five years. For the strategy to work, the ‘hidden gems’ and the established parkland venues all have to increase visitor numbers.

The issue facing Tourism NI and the Stormont Executive is that things have changed outside of the control of government.
In the intervening 12 months or so, the Irish Open has been backed very publicly by Rory McIlroy and his Rory Foundation – which is doing some great charitable work  – and a sponsor has come on board in shape of Dubai Duty Free.
The Irish Open is no longer the poor relation relying on government support and the good graces of the European Tour to survive.
When you add into the mix a new CEO – Keith Pelley – who has taken control of the European Tour, there’s every opportunity for some conflict amongst all the interested parties.

Pelley has already made some difficult decisions in his short time in office – he took a firm stance regarding the French Open and the WGC event – so it will be interesting to see how he negotiates his way through this issue.


Doyle passes Faldo Series test at Lough Erne

April 30, 2015
Under 18  and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne's Lynn McCool

Under 18 and Overall Winner of 2015 Faldo Series Sean Doyle (centre) with Andy Lott (Faldo Series) and Lough Erne’s Lynn McCool

Sean Doyle of Athlone Golf Club exhibited a polished all-round game to win the Faldo Series Ireland Championship at Lough Erne by two shots. The 16-year-old shot two rounds of level par in testing conditions to claim the overall victory and a place at the nineteenth Faldo Series Grand Final.
Doyle showed maturity and composure beyond his years to close out victory on the renowned Faldo Course. His overall win was complemented with a comfortable victory of the Boys’ U18 category where he won by six shots over the two rounds. The manner of the win will have filled Doyle with confidence he can take into his first Grand Final appearance.
The Boys’ U21 category was a tighter affair; with Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) winning a playoff after Marc Nolan (Delgany) matched him across the two rounds with a 75 and a 71. Fletcher’s playoff win also takes him to his maiden Grand Final appearance.

Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) won the U21 section at Lough Erne

Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) won the U21 section at Lough Erne

There was a similar tale of fine margins in the Boy’s U16 category with Paddy Culhane (Galway) winning a playoff over A.J. McCabe (Malahide). McCabe shot an excellent 70 on the last day but couldn’t quite deny Culhane, whose round of 77 forced the playoff.
In the Girls’ section Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) was peerless as she claimed her spot in the season ending finale by winning the U21 category. Her advantage over her closest rival was a mighty seven shots. She will be joined at the Grand Final by Girls’ U16 winner Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo) who claimed her division by two shots.

Presentation - Maeve Rooney Under 16 Winner County Sligo Golf Club

Maeve Rooney (Co Sligo) winner of U16 category at Lough Erne

Leading final scores:
Boys’ Under-21: 146 – Jamie Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 75-71, Marc Nolan (Delgany) 75-71, 147 – Jonny Hewitt (Loughgall) 75-72.
Boys’ Under 18: 144 – Sean Doyle (Athlone) 72-72, 150 – Ben Graham (Scrabo) 76-74, Paul Murphy (Rosslare) 80-70, Jack Brophy (Clontarf) 75-75.
Boys’ Under 16: 152 – Paddy Culhane (Galway) 75-77, A.J. Mccabe (Malahide) 82-70, 153 – Patrick Somers (Grange) 74-79.
Girls’ Under 21: 156 – Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) 77-79, 163 – Florentina Hager (C&C GC Am Wienerberg) 83-80, 180 – Deborah Mccooke (Galgorm Castle) 95-85.
Girls’ Under 16: 169 – Maeve Rooney (Co. Sligo) 90-79, 171 – Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 82-89, 172 – Valerie Hager (C&c GC Am Wienerberg) 83-89.


Mooney collects Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy at Lough Erne

March 25, 2015
Ballyliffin's Damian Mooney (left) being presented with the Connor Mallon Trophy by Seamus Mallon after winning the Desmond Motors PGA Grand Prix Order of Merit.

Ballyliffin’s Damian Mooney (left) being presented with the Connor Mallon Trophy by Seamus Mallon after winning the Desmond Motors PGA Grand Prix Order of Merit.

It was an emotional Damian Mooney who received the Conor Mallon Memorial Trophy from Seamus Mallon, father of the late Narin & Portnoo club pro, after the final round of the Desmond Motors Grand Prix Tournament at Lough Erne Resort.
Mooney didn’t win the last outing in the competition but, in sharing third place with Castle Hume’s Shaun Donnelly, the Ballyliffin golfer gained enough points to top the Order of Merit with a bit to spare.
Noel Murray (Massereene) and former Castle Hume assistant, Andy Peoples (Darren Clarke Golf School), topped the leaderboard on one-over-par 73, one stroke ahead of Mooney and Donnelly.
Murray stared badly by driving into water at the first which cost him a double bogey six but he fought back with birdies at the fourth and the seventh, after driving the green.
A three-putt on nine saw him to the turn in one-over-par 38 before he came home in regulation 35 with a bogey at the 10th cancelled out by a birdie two, from five feet, at 13.
Peoples also dropped a shot at the first hole but went 4-2-3 for birdies at the fourth, fifth and seventh before closing his front nine with a bogey to turn in one under 36. Seven pars and two bogeys at 10 and 16 saw him come home in two over 37.
Shandon Park one-handicapper Stuart Bleakley matched the winning pros’ 73 to win the amateurs’ gross prize while Castle Hume manager Pat Duffy took the nett award on 32 points, playing off five. Castle Hume pro Shaun Donnelly and Concra Wood five-handicapper Sylvester Quinn won the team prize with 41 points.
The final round in the Race to the Strand will be played at Portstewart next Monday. With the 13 qualifying events having been completed, the line-up for the final has been announced with Cairndhu professional Barrie Trainor heading the list from the points table.
The top 13 players in the points’ list go through to the shootout and they are joined by the top seven, who haven’t qualified via the points’ table, from the money list.
The points’ qualifiers are: Barrie Trainor (Cairndhu); David Hughes (Massereene); Noel Murray (Massereene); Phil Farrell (Laganview DR); Gary Wardlow (QUB); Vivian Teague (Loughgall); Wes Ramsey (Knockbracken GA); Shaun Donnelly (Castle Hume); Peter Hanna (Lurgan); Peter McCarroll (Allen Park); David Graham (Scrabo); Ken Revie (Ballymena); Will Carey (Shandon Park).
Those through from the money list are: Peter Martin (Colin Park GA); Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin); Paul Vaughan (Ardglass); Damien McEvoy (Ballycastle); Simon Thornton (RCD); Ricky Whitford (Knock); Stephen Hamill (Lisburn).

Desmond Motors Conor Mallon Trophy Grand Prix final at Lough Erne Resort
Professionals: 73 (+1) – N Murray (Massereene), A Peoples (Darren Clarke School).
74 – S Donnelly (Castle Hume), D Mooney (Ballyliffin).
75 – D Leathem (Nevada Bob).
76 – M Jones (Lough Erne Resort).
Amateurs: Gross, 73 (+1) – S Bleakley 1 (Shandon Pk).
76 – S Quinn 5 (Concra Wood).
76 – P Posnett 3 (St Patrick’s).
Nett, 32 pts – P Duffy 5 (Castle Hume) first on last six holes from R Gallagher 5 (Castle Hume).
Team: 41 pts – Pro S Donnelly (Castle Hume) & Amateur S Quinn 5 (Concra Wood).
Order of Merit final Standing
85 pts – D Mooney (Ballyliffin).
71 – B Trainor (Cairndhu).
68 – N Murray (Massereene).
62 – S Donnelly (Castle Hume).
Info courtesy of Tony McGee

St Patrick’s Day Golf Challenge at Lough Erne to raise funds for cancer charity

March 3, 2015

Charity Fund Raiser at Lough Erne Resort - St Patricks Day
The Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh is launching a fundraising campaign to support Cancer Connect on St Patrick’s Day.
The main hotel building will be flooded with green light as the resort embraces Tourism Ireland’s #GoGreen4PatricksDay campaign and the 18th green will be the venue for a charity ‘night golf’ challenge.
“The 18th hole Challenge will kick start a series of fund-raising events called the 100k PROJECT,” said Lynn McCool, Lough Erne’s Director of Golf.
“The final goal for Cancer Connect NI is to raise 100k to purchase a house in Belfast whereby patients travelling for treatment will have access to a ‘home away from home’.”
The Night Golf Challenge – Nearest the Pin and Beat the Pro – will take place on the 18th hole using fluorescent golf balls. It costs £5 pounds per person to enter with all proceeds donated to the Fermanagh based charity Cancer Connect.
There are categories for Junior U10, U16, ladies, gents and even ‘non-golfers’ giving everyone an opportunity to win one of the fantastic prizes up for grabs. All proceeds raised from entry fees on the night will be donated to Cancer Connect. If you can’t attend in person, you can still donate and the resort will nominate someone – hopefully talented – to hit your shot!
“I’m very excited about the event and couldn’t believe how good the Night Golf equipment performed when we trialled it at the Resort. It will be a sea of green – green golf balls and the fairways, bunkers and tees will all be lit green for St Patricks Day,” added Lynn.
To enter the Night Golf Challenge call 02866 345 766 / ROI 048 66 345 766 or simply turn up on the day.
Alternatively make a donation by texting CCNI11 plus the amount you wish to donate to 70070 (UK Numbers) or visit
Come along for an evening that promises to be a fun filled event for all the family including traditional music in the clubhouse and a special St. Patrick’s Menu on offer in the Loughside Bar & Grill from 6-9pm. The golf challenge will get underway at approximately 7pm. For Loughside Bar & Grill or Catalina Restaurant bookings contact 028 6632 3230 as prior booking is advised.


Royal Portrush back on Open rota but there are still hurdles to overcome

June 17, 2014
 (Left to right) Simon Rankin, Captain Royal Portrush; Peter Unsworth, Chairman of The R&A Championship Committee; Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA; First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson MLA; Peter Dawson, Chief Executive The R&A; Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster.

(Left to right) Simon Rankin, Captain Royal Portrush; Peter Unsworth, Chairman of The R&A Championship Committee; Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA; First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson MLA; Peter Dawson, Chief Executive The R&A; Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster.

These are heady days for golf fans in Northern Ireland.
Starved of a significant tournament for decades, the success of the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush has opened the floodgates.
The Irish Open will be hosted by Royal County Down in 2015 and Lough Erne Resort in 2017 and now the biggest and the best – the Open Championship – could return as early as 2019.

It’s one of those pinch yourself moments; ‘The Open Championship at Royal Portrush’ – keep saying it – because you never thought it would happen.

There are hurdles still to be overcome, the Royal Portrush members have yet to agree to proposed changes to the course and the surrounding infrastructure will have to be upgraded but a ‘can-do’ attitude was in evidence at Monday’s official announcement at the famous North Coast links.
“This is a truly great day for world golf,” said Simon Rankin, Captain of Royal Portrush GC.
“We have wished for this for many years and now we are being given a chance to bring this wonderful course back to the Open rota and show it to the world.

“For generations to come, this will bring huge benefits both in golfing and economic terms to the north-coast, to Northern Ireland and to Ireland as a whole.

“Royal Portrush is honoured to accept the invitation of the R&A to rejoin the Open rota and we look forward to the preparation ahead and we are delighted to bring the event back to Royal Portrush GC and Northern Ireland.”
It’s no great secret that Royal Portrush has been lobbying to bring the Open back to Northern Ireland for many years. The Captain indicated that work began many years before the major successes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington.
Clarke has always believed that Royal Portrush was good enough to host the event and his faith has now been rewarded.
“It is wonderful news,” said the 2011 Open Champion speaking to the BBC.
“A lot of people behind the scenes have worked tirelessly.
“To get the biggest tournament in world golf back up to Royal Portrush is a huge honour for all involved and the course itself.
“It will be a wonderful event and wonderful for the whole economy.”
Millions will be spent by both the R&A and the Northern Ireland executive to make sure the tournament returns possibly as soon as 2019 although R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson was at pains to point out that no date had been set in stone.
The inference was clear, only when everything has been resolved to the R&A’s satisfaction will the tournament get the go-ahead.
“This has been going on for quite some time. We have been asked many times as we have gone along ‘what about Royal Portrush’ and we haven’t been able to be positive simply because there have been so many balls in the air about it,” said Mr Dawson.
“First of all looking at the course, it is a wonderful links but of course, it is a long time since 1951 [the last time Royal Portrush hosted the Open Championship] and the game has moved on. Like all of the other venues we have had to look at the course to ensure it provides the sort of test an Open Championship should provide.
“The course can certainly do that with some alterations, not just from a playing point of view but the whole infrastructure surrounding an Open Championship.
“Getting all that right and designed. We have been very much helped by golf course architect, Martin Ebert.
“It is a lot of work to eventually get to the point were you feel you can make an announcement.
“We needed the support from the Northern Ireland Executive and just like any other Open venue we have to have the members happy and the local planning authorities happy with what is going on. All of these things have had to come together.”

Refreshed Maybin ready to start climbing the rankings

April 14, 2014

Gareth Maybin helps launch the Irish Golf Expo

Gareth Maybin helps launch the Irish Golf Expo

Gareth Maybin has endured a difficult start to the 2014 season but he returns to action this week in Malaysia confident of turning things around.
After missing five cuts in his opening seven European Tour events, the 33-year-old opted to take an extended six week break and has regained his enthusiasm for the game.
“To be perfectly honest, I played rubbish,” said Gareth who is currently ranked 187th in the Race to Dubai.
“I really needed the break just to freshen up. I had no interest in playing and you are wasting your time out there if you feel like that against that level of competition.
“I was fighting hard even to just miss the cut by a shot but now I feel that I am playing much better.
“I suppose, if you are going to play poorly, the start of the year is probably the best time to do it, because if you play well in the summer, you can move up the rankings pretty quickly.”
The Ballyclare golfer is planning to play a three week stretch in the far east, moving from the Maybank Malaysian Open (where he is first reserve), to China and then onto Singapore.
“It’s just a matter of confidence,” added Gareth.

“If I can go out there and get one good result, I feel pretty confident that several will follow.

“Golf is always about mindset. It is more mental than football or rugby, games where everything happens so much quicker.
“In golf, everything is so slow you have so much time to think and if you can learn to manage that time well, you can help yourself a lot.”
Maybin, who was speaking at the launch of the Irish Golf Expo* also weighed in on news that the Irish Open will return to Northern Ireland in 2015 at Royal County Down and 2017 at the Lough Erne Resort.
“Obviously they are two fantastic venues,” he said.
“I think both tournaments will be well supported not just by people from the north but also from the south as well. I think from that perspective, it will generate great interest.
“I have never played a competitive round of golf at Royal County Down. I never really get down there much but I actually made a point of going to play it again recently for the first time in six or seven years.”

* The Irish Golf Expo is a new event that will provide golfing enthusiasts from across Ireland the opportunity to attend a large scale golf exhibition. The exhibition will bring together global organisations to promote their products to a captive audience.
Venue – King’s Hall Belfast, Sat 20 September and Sun 21 September