Northern Ireland may be the smallest of the four nations in the United Kingdom; however, we punch well above our weight in many ways, and golf is definitely near the top of that list.
This small part of the world is home to some of the most fantastic scenery, best food and the warmest welcome, meaning you’ll never want to go home – Northern Ireland, in particular, Portrush and surrounding punch well above our weight in terms of golf and the golfing greats we have produced.
It is easy to forget that there are many other top-quality courses close to Portrush, with one of the best, Rathmore Golf Club who play on the Valley Links (right next to Royal Portrush). There is also Portstewart, home to three courses including the Championship Bann Course that hosted 2017 Irish Open, along with two other championship courses in Ballycastle and Castlerock a short distance away.
There can be little doubt about it, Portrush and The North of Ireland is the home of champions.
Three of the most famous hail from this small corner of the island, with arguably the World Number 2 Golfer, Rory McIllroy, being most prominent.
Rory, a massive advocate for Northern Ireland’s sensational golf courses, has used his own Foundation (The Rory Foundation) as a principal sponsor of the Irish Open, bringing big names to the tournament again.
Darren Clarke, the 2011 Open Champion, a native of County Tyrone, began his career at Dungannon Golf Club, before moving to the North Coast.
His foundation supports junior golfers, including the local schools league, as his way of introducing his love of the game to others “finding their feet on the fairway.”
And finally, there’sPortrush native Graeme McDowell, who grew up playing at Rathmore Golf Club in the town, which plays on the Valley Links at Royal Portrush.
Royal Portrush was already well known in the golfing world. However, it became a household name when McDowell, after his 2010 US Open win at Pebble Beach, told the world he’d honed his skills here.