Jul 12th, 2017
Ballyliffin GC to host DDF Irish Open
As the event spreads its wings
Words: Jordan Boyd Photography: Ballyliffen GC
A refreshing blast of change is occurring within the DDF Irish Open, as 2018 will mark the first time Ballyliffin Golf Club will play host to this increasingly high–profile event.
The Rory Foundation will continue to hold the Open at one of Ireland's finest and most iconic links courses, as they embark in their first venture to the North West of the Country.
Barry Funston, Chief Executive of the Rory Foundation intends to extend the locations in which the Irish Open is held: “We're slowly moving around the country taking it to all corners.” And Ballyliffin GC looks to be the first club to benefit from this strategy.
Ballyliffin Golf Club is home to two neighbouring links courses, the Glashedy Links and the Old Course. The Glashedy Links will be the host course of 2018's DDF Irish Open. It opened back in 1995, and was designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock.
High raising dunes, large expansive greens, and with the Old Course braiding in and out, the Glashedy Links is sure to challenge the world's best golfers.
Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley stated during this years instalment of the event at Portstewart, “It is one of the great and historic events on the European Tour, raised to a new level in recent times by the commitment of our title sponsor Dubai Duty Free and by the support of our own Rory Mcllroy and his foundation as hosts”.
Ireland's premier golfing event is now included in the European Tour's new Rolex series initiative, which has further raised the status of the DDF Irish Open.
The quality of the links itself is just one of the many positives this change can provide for the golfers, who will no doubt enjoy playing on the Donegal based course. However, the stature of the links doesn't go unnoticed. “In terms of links golf, we are truly blessed on that score in Ireland as we have seen this week in Portstewart, and I am delighted that another gem in the shape of Ballyliffin has been lined up for our members next year”, concluded Pelley.
Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, Colm McLoughlin has also expressed his support of the chosen venue, explaining “The setting is spectacular” and “International visitors who will come to Donegal will really enjoy the scenery and the dramatic landscape”. This is the fourth continuous year Dubai Duty Free will play title sponsor to the tournament.
However, Ballyliffin is already a regular championship venue, so holding major tournaments won't come as a new experience. It has seen the North West of Ireland Open (2002), which was won by Adam Mednick from Sweden, whilst Spain's Juan Quiros also secured victory on the European Senior Tour here in 2008 by beating local favourite Des Smyth by a single shot.
The event will take place between the 5th and 8th July 2018, and tickets have already gone on sale with the Early Bird price reductions already in full swing.