This July, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation will take place at the breath-taking Ballyliffin Golf Club for the first time. The Rolex Series event will be the biggest international sporting event County Donegal has ever hosted.
If that is not enough to whet the appetite, the European Tour in association with creative agency Mammoth has released a video of the unrivalled beauty fans can expect this summer, having followed Ballyliffin greenkeeper Andy Robertson for a day in the life, from dawn to dusk.
Having worked at the famous Sunningdale Golf Club in England for eight years prior to that, Robertson moved to Donegal with a ‘one-year plan’ to work at the stunning golf course close to Ireland’s most northerly point, with the aim to move on to the sunnier climes of California.
It was a story of two loves which would make the Scottish native a Donegal man for life. Firstly, the love of his Buncrana-based wife Majella, whom he met on the Isle of Man at the TT races. Then there was his love for the beauty of Ballyliffin Golf Club and its picture-postcard fairways.
This July, the craftsman Robertson and his team of greenkeepers will have the opportunity to show off one of Ireland’s golfing gems to the world.
“Everyone here at the club is so excited about the players coming,” said Robertson. “The staff are just so delighted to be part of something this big and they just can’t wait to see all of the players walking around the club.
“It’s all about this big show that is coming to town. Everyone’s in great form and the whole county is getting behind it. Not only that, I have greenkeeper friends coming from all around Ireland, England, Scotland, and as far away as America, one even coming from Cypress Point in California.”
It has been a massive operation for Robertson and his team since it was announced last July that Ballyliffin would host the event for the very first time.
“From that date onward, we knew there would be a lot of extra preparation to do,” he said. “But we have always kept Ballyliffin to a very high standard anyway so it didn’t require wholesale changes.
“It will be great to see how the European Tour players do. It’s a difficult course even if it’s not a long course by their standards. The rough is quite dense this year, and the fairways are tight enough but the bunkers are a big danger for the players.
“I think anyone wanting to do well will be looking to hit irons off the tee at the beginning but maybe when the pressure increases, the drivers might start to come out.
“But it’s pure links golf. The greens are hard and you’re not just hitting it right at the pins. It’s a different kind of game.”
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each. An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110.
Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 14 and 17, while children up to 13 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
Fans will also be treated to a festival of music as country star Nathan Carter headlines the ‘Glashedy Sessions’ on the Friday night of the tournament. A host of exciting local bands will also entertain the crowds at the Glashedy Stage, including popular four-piece the Logues and regular favourites the Groove Robbers.
Official Hospitality tickets are also available on the ticketing page, or alternatively contact the European Tour’s dedicated Hospitality Sales Team, who will be happy to answer any queries and discuss the various hospitality options, on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 1344 840681.