Destination Golf Ireland 2019 * - Page 3

Welcome Welcome to the fourth edition of Destination Golf Ireland There’s little doubt that the big news of 2018 was the re-opening – perhaps ‘re-imagining’ is a better term – of Adare. The Golf Course at Adare Manor, as it is to be known, has taken conditioning and maintenance and sheer dedication to new heights... not just in Ireland, but across Europe. The course is being lauded for its splendour and its design by Tom Fazio. It seems almost inevitable that the Ryder Cup will be hosted here, with a 2026 date already mooted. Our summer was one of the most remarkable on record and fairways everywhere burned under a relentless sun that cast its light non-stop for close to three months. The Irish Open fell within this spell and the course looked glorious on the millions of screens where it was broadcast around the world. Ballyliffin and Co. Donegal will lure golfers for years on the back of the event won by Russell Knox. The question is, has the positivity injected by Adare’s re-opening and Ballyliffin’s success trickled down to the rest of Ireland’s 400 plus courses? There’s no doubt that investment has continued around the island and the arrival of Tom Doak to work on the old St Patrick’s Links (now part of Rosapenna), and Gil Hanse to usher in a new era at Narin & Portnoo will make Ireland even more attractive to a US golfing audience… but what about lower down the pecking order, at the grass roots end of things? There may not be such a sense of well-being and several clubs are struggling to survive but that overwhelming air of negativity of recent years is being pushed behind us. No doubt there is some way to go in a country where supply still exceeds demand and, no doubt, there is a sense of optimism as the Open Championship returns to this island’s shores for the first time in 70 years in 2019. Kevin Markham Editor Destination Golf Media Ltd. 1