The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation has been played on three spectacular Irish courses yet the Glashedy Links at Ballyliffin Golf Club, venue for the 2018 Championship, has a majesty all of its own.
Ballyliffin is Ireland’s most northerly golf club, which affords breathtaking panoramic views over Pollan Bay to Glashedy Island, and is no stranger to welcoming big events.
The Glashedy Links has held the 2002 North West of Ireland Open and the 1998 Ladies Irish Open, while the equally renowned Old Links has staged the 2008 Irish Senior Open. The origins of Ballyliffin GC in County Donegal, date back to 1947 when the members had to mow the greens and tees themselves before playing a round.
In 1973 The Old Links opened and by 1987 the new clubhouse had opened. Various golf course designers, including Eddie Hackett, Lawrie and Pennick, and Martin Hopkins had all been involved in creating The Old Links but in 1992 designers Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, who were originally upgrading The Old Links, were tasked with the job of building a second course, the stunning Glashedy Links. In creating a different layout to The Old Links, they embraced the spectacular sand dunes of Ballyliffin and the Glashedy Links were soon established as one of the most renowned links courses in world golf.
💬 “I love the Irish Open and I’d love to go to Ballyliffin and win the trophy again. But @ballyliffin will be a tough test of golf – it’s a pure links.”#DDFIrishOpen #RolexSeries pic.twitter.com/59nzoiiqeT
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 26, 2018
The Old Links was opened in 1995 and in 2004 Sir Nick Faldo, who had a long association with Ballyliffin, upgraded The Old Links. Faldo had been a long-time admirer of both these outstanding courses and did much to promote Ballyliffin on a grand scale.
Past winners of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Soren Kjeldsen (Royal County Down, 2015), Rory McIlroy (K Club, 2016) and Jon Rahm (Portstewart, 2017) were worthy winners of the event and this year’s victor will find it a tough challenge on Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Links.