We fought in an epic open championship tournament. Of course he fought again

A majestic view of the 2019 tournament hosting, Royal Portrush.

Getty Images

I fell in love with Portrush for the first time in the summer of 2019.

The Open has arrived in Northern Ireland, the first time there since 1951. The world of golf has arrived with it. Thousands flocked from the UK and Ireland. And thousands more, including myself, came from farther places; I took a red eye to Dublin and then made a trip north, two cloudy eyes watching as the Emerald Isle swayed. Born and raised in a rural New England town, while the pastoral landscape was familiar, I felt distinctly different. Older, for one thing. isolated on the other hand. The landscape was timeless, ostensibly unaffected by time and technology.

I loved the city first. Portrush is a small coastal village of 6,000 or so residents located on the northern tip of Northern Ireland. Downtown stands out in particular, as it is a one-mile-long peninsula that stretches dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean. It was built for fun: restaurants border beaches, bars border arcades, which border ferris wheels, which border more beaches, and which border the golf course. And soon I learned to love it too.

I loved the way the crowds streamed through town. After a day on the course they made their way on foot from the stadium into town, scattered in the many bars along the way, spotting players, sacks, and media in their midst, one big group eventually arriving at Bar Harbor, where the bartenders served as many as they could of pints they can pull off the tap.

I loved the vacation feel of the city. Since it is located at 55 degrees N – the latitude of Ketchikan, Alaska or Omsk in Russia – the standards of local residents for a warm summer day are noticeably low. Children roamed the shores of the West and East, braving the freezing waters, taking full advantage of the sunset at 10 p.m.

I loved the integration between the city and of course; The main road that would lead in and out of town brought you straight to the course. This blurs the lines between in Royal Portrush and Existence in Portrush, where the former was made to feel like a large part of the latter. They take golf very seriously in Northern Ireland, but golf club exclusivity is not considered a badge of honor as it is in the United States. Portrush residents were glad we were there and hope to return.

So we did.

The Masters is a great event, but you can’t play Augusta National. Ditto, the hosting site for this year’s US Open, The Country Club in Brookline, or the venue for the PGA Championship, Southern Hills. But you can play Royal Portrush. that they need to You have to play Royal Portrush, actually. The club welcomes visitors, who arrive by rental car or tour bus and pay enough for the tee times they provide to subsidize rates for local members. This is a humble town with a great golf course.

I’m back with fellow GOLF teammate Sean Zack and our videographer Tiffany Lynch to soak up what Portrush felt like when the World Open was has not been in the city. When the tournament ended in July 2019, most fans left, after all. They will return in July 2025, when the Open Championship returns. Arriving in smack-dab town in mid-August 2022, clubs, bags, and big dreams were all stuffed into our rental.

There are two basic requirements for an unforgettable golf destination. Number one, your destination requires some effort to get to it. Number two, that destination somewhere deserves to be. I traveled directly from San Francisco to Dublin, took a bus to Belfast and took a train the rest of the way. Green fields and mysterious sheep walked past. Guinness World Records awaits at Bar Harbor. It was good to go back.

Portrush is better seen than described, so I’ll let the video below speak better than any thousand words. But the most common question I’ve had since my return is the following: What makes Portrush so special, being ranked not only among the best links in the world but best courses, a period? In simpler terms, this is where I got to:

1. Height changes. Like other top-level links courses, Portrush has a picturesque beachfront vibe. Panoramic views include downtown to the west, the open Atlantic Ocean to the north and the dramatic coast—including the rocky ruins of Dunluce Castle—to the east. But it’s rare to have a bonding course that features so many hills. As a result, both the views and the golf shots become more dramatic. Wild sand dunes take you up, round and over humps, bumps and hills. It’s more of a 3D experience than typical links. It’s also hard as hell.

2. The hole variety. Portrush keeps your head on a pole; Each hole is directed in a slightly different direction. Some links courses are 18-track albums, and are only appreciated when you listen to them all together. Portrush has 18 singles. Not just display gadgets, like the gorgeous seaside par-4 5 and beefy par-3 16th. Every hole of Rory tragic 1 to the eighteenth, Shane Lowry’s coronation siteThey require your attention and can be easily recovered at the end of the day – better to come back at Harbor Bar. Because, again, it’s hard as hell.

Rory McIlroy Royal Portrush

Do you remember the hardest moment in Rory McIlroy’s career? I got it too


Shawn Zack

3. Setup. Lots of Links courses boast an epic history. Lots to brag about with an epic coastline. Portrush both; Hundred-year-old prizes will be awarded for the first part, while the chalk cliffs forfeit the second. Portrush tournament design doesn’t sacrifice any class. This is, after all, a strong enough setup for an open tournament and brutal enough to serve as a filming location Game of thrones. this range.

The club was founded in 1888 and its modern path has been around for nearly a century. In 2019, the course proved to be a fair and timeless challenge. If you pick a rare quiet day and hit the ball in the fairway far from the tee, you can score. if not? The goral, the annulment and the blackberry are waiting for you. But with a goal!

We found the wind. We found out what happens if you miss the driveway, and as a result we found bell and blackberry bushes. We found history, legacy and pints in the city. One of us even found our way into the Atlantic. As for the rest? Check it out below.

Dylan Detier

Dylan Dither

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Diether is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine / GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Massachusetts native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years of squabbling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, majoring in English, and is the author of 18 in Americawho details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living out of his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

Leave a Comment