Host Rory McIlroy poses with the winner of the Irish Open 2015 Soren Kjeldsen
So far, Northern Ireland’s golf stars have carried seven major titles back to the home turf - a truly astonishing feat for such a small country.
As the cradle of golfing champions and the home of two of the greatest links courses in the world, Northern Ireland is simply a legendary place to play the game.
Take inspiration from our golfing greats and come and discover new stories, new places and new experiences you’ll talk about forever.
Rory was able to hit a 40-yard drive at the age of two, and by the age of nine had made his first hole in one on his home course at Holywood Golf Club. With a record-breaking amateur run under his belt he turned pro in 2007. In 2014 he won The Open Championship and sealed his place in history with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win their third major title by the age of 25. Rory’s glory is celebrated at his home course where a special area displays lots of his golfing memorabilia, early photographs and even a replica of the US Open and USPGA trophies. If he’s home, you might see him pottering around the club house or Holywood’s cafés and gym.
Darren Clarke has played at Royal Portrush since he was a teenager and now lives close to the course, but he hails from Dungannon, right in the centre of Northern Ireland. In his early days he nurtured his talent at Dungannon Golf Club, an excellent parkland course, which, since turning pro, he has helped modify. The Open winner reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named the 2016 Ryder Cup Captain, and he is committed to helping the next generation of golfing stars through the Darren Clarke Golf School in Antrim.
Portrush is a special place for ‘G-Mac’. He grew up in the town and learned to play his golf on the Valley Course at Rathmore, the club which shares the world-famous links of Royal Portrush. It was here Graeme mastered his craft, spending long summers honing his instinctive ball-striking talent and a competitive spirit that would see him hold off the challenges of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and others to win his first major, the US Open. He famously held his nerve in the final match to secure the Ryder Cup for Europe in 2010.
The first Northern Irishman to win a major, it was the late, great Fred Daly who set the standard for the modern champions to follow. Fred won The Open Championship in 1947 while a professional at Balmoral Golf Club, one of Belfast’s top parkland courses. In his honour the club runs an annual Fred Daly Memorial Pro-Am, considered one of the best in Ireland. Born just a good three-iron from the iconic Royal Portrush Golf Club, his Open Championship gold medal, alongside that of Darren Clarke’s, is on display in the club house.