Sizzling summer ahead for Irish golf

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Ireland promises to be the place to watch golf’s top players in action this summer with leading names from the men’s and ladies tours joining forces with the game’s up-and-coming stars to offer a feast of five-star action.

All eyes with be on US Open winner Rory McIlroy and Open champion Darren Clarke when Royal Portrush hosts the much-anticipated Irish Open at the end of this month.

But the European Tour event is just one of a host of top tournaments taking place over the coming weeks, with Ireland holding no fewer than three EuroPro Tour events in the next two months before the Ladies Irish Open is staged at Killeen Castle from August 3-5.

David Boyce, Tourism Ireland’s head of business and sports tourism, said: “Ireland has an amazing depth of professional talent at the moment and it’s fantastic that golf fans will have the chance to see them on home soil at close range over the coming months.

“There’s no substitute for live action and to have the opportunity to watch some of the top players and stars of the future is a mouthwatering prospect which can only serve to increase the popularity of the game in Ireland.”

The Ulster Bank PGA EuroPro Open has established itself as one of the most popular events on the EuroPro Tour and marked the start of an exciting summer of golfing action, with Galgorm Castle Golf Club staging the tournament for the third successive year at the end of last month.

The likes of world number two McIlroy, Clarke and fellow Irish Major winners Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell will then take centre stage as Northern Ireland stages top professional golfing action for the first time since 1953.

Reigning US PGA champion Bradley Keegan and big-hitting American John Daly will also be appearing at Royal Portrush from June 28 to July 1, with the event expected to attract 27,000 people each day.

There will be a double header of EuroPro Tour action next month with Fota Island Resort in Cork hosting some of Europe’s most promising players from July 4-6 before the focus switches to Co.Monaghan a week later for the Kingspan Concra Wood Open.

And golf fans will be relishing the prospect of seeing the continent’s top ladies stars competing in the Ladies Irish Open for the third successive year at County’s Meath’s Killeen Castle – venue for Europe’s nail-biting victory in the 2011 Solheim Cup.

With some of the most famous venues anywhere in the world, Ireland offers golfers the complete package with top championship courses, stunning scenery, fascinating history and some of the best craic around.

*For more information about visiting Ireland, go to www.discoverireland.com/golf