The 2012 Irish Open Championship will take place at Royal Portrush Golf Club June 28 to July 1. Northern Ireland's most famous club, Royal Portrush is home to two links courses. Dunluce Links is widely hailed as one of the best layouts in the world. In 1951, the golf course became famous for being the only course outside of Great Britain to host the British Open Championship. It is named after the nearby 13th century Dunluce Castle that is perched above the course overlooking the pounding waves of the Atlantic. The golf course has challenging rough areas and tricky greens that will test even the best golfers.
The Valley Links golf course is slightly shorter than the more famous Dunluce, making it a bit less demanding but it is a challenge no less. Valley lies between the East Strand, a popular beach for surfing, and Dunluce. The aptly named golf course plays through huge sandy hills that are situated along the Atlantic.
Many top golfers have portrayed Royal Portrush Golf Club as one of the most challenging golf courses in the world. It is a testing course, requiring skill and concentration, but set in one of the most scenic parts of Europe.
In 2002, Royal Portrush was voted 14th in "The World's Top 100 Golf Courses" by US Golf Magazine. The survey is compiled by an international panel of 100 golfers, journalists, architects and industry figures looking at each courses' strategic integrity, how well a course tests the full range of golf skills and its rhythm of design, location, ambiance, conditioning, tradition and visual appeal.
As befits a golf course of such quality, Royal Portrush Golf Club has hosted many major events over the years. The Irish Amateur Championships were inaugurated here in 1892, while the first professional event on Irish soil was also hosted at Portrush in 1895. In the same year the first Ladies Championships were held. From the exclusive group of clubs so honored, only one has been located outside Scotland or England, when Royal Portrush Golf Club hosted the British Open Championship.
For more information on the Irish Open, see www.royalportrushgolfclub.com
GolfWiz Blog Senior Travel Editor