Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sergio Busquets and coastal erosion worries - 10 facts on Royal Portrush

In 2011 Darren Clarke became only the second man from Royal Portrush and adjacent Rathmore Golf Club to win the Open.
In 2011 Darren Clarke became only the second man from Royal Portrush and adjacent Rathmore Golf Club to win the Open.

Eoin Harrington

The R&A announced today that the 2019 Open Championship will be held at the famous Royal Portrush course in County Antrim – only the second time the tournament will have been held on the Island of Ireland.

Here are ten facts about the course that you may not have known:

1) Golf magazine ‘Golf Digest’ named Royal Portrush as the fourth best golf course outside of the United States in 2008 and ‘Golf Magazine’ voted it the twelfth best course in the world.

2) The course on which the Open will be played, the Dunluce Links course, takes its name from the ruined castle on the cliff face two kilometres from the course, Dunluce Castle.

3) The 2012 Irish Open was held on the Dunluce Course, the first time the tournament had been held in Northern Ireland since 1953 and the first time the tournament had been held at Royal Portrush since 1947.

4) The Giant’s Causeway is visible from the course, which also provides spectacular views of the hills of Inishowen to the west and the Isle of Islay to the North.

5) There are two courses at Portrush, with the Dunluce Links controlled by Royal Portrush Golf Club and the Valley Links controlled by the adjacent Rathmore Golf Club. Only two men from these clubs have won the Open previously – Fred Daly (Rathmore) in 1947 and Darren Clarke (Royal Portrush) in 2011.

6) The course’s signature holes are the fourth, fifth and fourteenth. The fourth hole is an unusually long par four, more than 480 yards from championship tees. The fifth is a relatively short par four played downhill with no bunkers but a heavily undulated fairway. The fourteenth hole is named “Calamity Corner” – a 210 yard par three played over a huge ravine with mounds and hollows to the left and back of the green.

7) In 2013 when the PGA of America announced that they were considering taking the PGA Championship overseas, then president Ted Bishop mentioned that Royal Portrush was the front runner to host the tournament in such a scenario. “You know, I think that Royal Portrush would be a great first international major,” he said, “that might be a good place to start.”

8) The club had three different names in its first seven years of existence. When the club was formed in 1888, the course was only nine holes long and the club was named the County Club. In 1892, when H.R.H. The Duke of York was patron, it was renamed to the Royal County Club, before finally being named The Royal Portrush Golf Club by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) when he was patron in 1895.

9) In 1982, emergency action had to be taken to avoid the fifth and sixth holes from being washed out to sea as a result of heavy coastal erosion.

10_ The adjacent town of Portrush holds many other sporting events during the year, including the famous youth soccer tournament The Milk Cup, the North West 200 motorcycle race and the RNLI raft race.

Famous alumni of the Milk Cup include Sergio Busquets, Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao and Manchester United’s ‘Class of ‘92’, while the Dunlop brothers were regular winners of the North West 200.

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