Guide to the Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club

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By Richard O'Reilly

The Irish Open

In the bluntest of terms, the Irish Open is a professional golf tournament on the European Tour, the primary golf tour in Europe and the main competitor to the PGA Tour in America.  This year Portstewart Golf Club on the north coast plays host, with the main competition on 6-9th July.  In previous years it's been held at several venues in Northern Ireland, including Royal County Down and the nearby Royal Portrush.

The Field:

Given the growth of the European Tour in recent years, and increased sponsorship coming from the Irish Open's place as part of the Rolex Series, this year's Open boasts an impressive field of professionals.  Graeme McDowell called it "arguably the best field the Irish Open has had in over 20 years".  The big draw is obviously Rory McIlroy, who is also the host of the Irish Open.  His 'Rory Foundation' is also the main charity involved with the tournament.  Joining Rory is world number 2 and the highest ranked player at the Irish Open Hideki Matsuyama.  Former Masters Champion Danny Willett, US Open winner Justin Rose and the ever-popular Juan-Miguel Jimenez are also gracing Portstewart with their presence.  And of course let's not forget local players Darren Clarke and the aforementioned Graeme McDowell.

Portstewart Golf Club:

Portstewart Golf Club was founded in 1894, it ones of several notable links courses on the north coast, along with the likes of 2019 Open CHampionship host Royal Portrush and the nearby Castlerock Golf Club.  The opening 9 holes are a more recent addition, having been designed by a local maths teacher named Des Giffin.  For a more detailed breakdown of the course itself, you can always check out our hole-by-hole guide.

Map of the course facilities Credit:Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Getting There:

Assuming you already have a ticket, the next step is getting there.  Fortunately Portstewart is no stranger to tourism, so it's fairly accessible.  Trains from Belfast and Derry/Londonderry travel to the nearby Portrush, or alternatively you can head into Coleraine.  Translink run shuttle buses to the open from several locations across the province.  For those of us who would rather drive, Park and Ride facilities are dotted across the area.  Once there, just hop on a bus, buy a quick fry and start watching some golf.

Golf shuttle buses will depart from these locations Credit

Food and Drink

Speaking of fry-ups, few of us can go four days without eating anything, so luckily the Irish Open has you covered.  There's burger and hot dog vans dotted around the championship village (see course layout) as well as numerous chippy vans and sandwich stalls.  Alternatively a quick trip into the town of Portstewart offers plenty of gastronomic opportunities.  For those of us who enjoy a swift drink during our golf viewing, there are bars and beer tents in the championship village.  Think music festival, but with more golf and fewer tents.




Speaking of music, the European Tour caters to all your aural needs.  A main stage is set up in the championship village, and the week's entertainment will be officially opened by Two Door Cinema Club on Wednesday night.  The mini festival will then be closed by Scouting for Girls on Sunday night. 


So as has been said, Portstewart is no stranger to tourism, and it's clear why.  The north coast boasts some of the Province's most iconic sights.  The Giant's Causeway is a few miles down the road, and Dunluce Castle and the Bushmills Distillery are all well worth a visit.


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