Ireland’s most northerly club will provide a majestic canvas for the 63rd Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
By Kent Gray
Last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will take some beating and we’re not even factoring in Jon Rahm’s extraordinary golf, five birdies and two eagles in a closing 65 helping the Spaniard seal an historic six stroke victory.
Portstewart Golf Club provided a stunning canvas for the 2017 Rolex Series event but the Londonderry layout, even with one of the most spectacular outward nines in golf, is set to be upstaged by the venue for the 63rd edition of the European Tour event.
Ballyliffin is Ireland’s most northerly golf club and affords majestic views over Pollan Bay to Glashedy Island and the wild Atlantic beyond. The County Donegal club is home to two courses, the Old and Glashedy links, the latter set to host Rahm’s title defence.
Sculpted amid towering dunes by legendary Irish architect Pat Ruddy and opened in 1995, Glashedy has been described by DDF Irish Open host Rory McIlroy as “pure links” while Sir Nick Faldo, who made overtures to by the club, once rated it the “most natural links” he’d ever played. The par-3s are particularly memorable, two of them played out to sea and the 7th a downhill gem guarded by water. But those stunning vistas, McIlroy warns, come with a bite. “It’s one of the toughest links courses in the world. It’s really well designed, it’s a beautiful course and Donegal is just a beautiful area.”
The July 5-8 DDF Irish Open is the second of three successive Rolex Series events leading into the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie (July 19-22), sandwiched between the Open de France and the Scottish Open. It all promises a mouth-watering month for lovers of links golf.