Golf clubs prepare to battle it out for Irish Open Pro-Am slot

GAME ON: More than 160 Golf Clubs across the length and breadth of Ireland have signed up to compete in this years Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge with a chance to play alongside international golf superstars and world famous celebrities in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open ProAm at stake.

The theme for this years Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation at The K Club (May 19-22) is History in the Making and that will certainly be the case on May 18 when, for the first time ever, one lucky club team lines up to play alongside a top golfer in the prestigious Pro-Am competition.

The European Tour and Irish Open title-sponsor Dubai Duty Free, which has kindly donated one of its own Pro-Am team spaces for the competition, today revealed the venues and dates for the five Club Challenge regional qualifiers as well as the names of the 166 clubs who will be represented.

The qualifiers will all take place between Monday April 11 and Monday April 25 at five of Irelands top golf courses, including Powerscourt GC in County Wicklow, Hollystown GC in Dublin, RockmountGC in Belfast, Dooks GC in County Kerry and Galway Bay Golf Club, all of whom have donated their excellent facilities in support of this years Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Details of the qualifying events, which are being managed by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and leading golf magazine Golf Digest Ireland, are as follows:

NORTH: Rockmount Golf Club, Belfast – Mon April 11 (40 teams will compete for 5 final places)

WEST: Galway Bay Golf Club, Co Galway – Wed April 13 (28 teams will compete for 4 final places)

EAST (1): Powerscourt Golf Club, Co Wicklow – Tue April 19 (40 teams will compete for 5 final places)

EAST (2): Hollystown Golf Club, Dublin – Wed April 20 (30 teams competing for 4 final places)

SOUTH: Dooks Golf Club, Co Kerry – Mon April 25 (28 teams competing for 4 final places)

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge is one of the key elements of Rory McIlroys five point plan to encourage golf clubs to help make this years Irish Open one of the best yet.

Antonia Beggs of The European Tour said: We are absolutely thrilled at the level of response weve received from golf clubs all around Ireland wanting to take part in our inaugural Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge. In particular, Id like to thank Rockmount, Dooks, Hollystown, Powerscourt and Galway Bay Golf Clubs who have been amazing in giving up their courses for the day to host our regional qualifying events. I suppose if just goes to show that when Rory McIlroy calls on clubs to lend their support to this years Irish Open, they all listen!

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said: The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge is a wonderful initiative that gives golf clubs a marvellous opportunity to have the chance to play with some of the worlds top golfers at a top quality event. We are very pleased to be able to donate one of our own Pro-Am teams to the winning team and even more pleased to see how golf clubs all over Ireland have pledged their support to Rory and embraced this event.

Pat Finn, Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) Chief Executive, added: This is a superb event which we are delighted to support and its great to see so many clubs from all corners of Ireland signing up to take part. Unfortunately the closing date for entry to this particular event is closed but there are lots of other ways for clubs to get behind Rory and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at www.golfnet.ie/DDFirishopen.

Participating clubs will use existing club competitions to find a Mens and Ladies champion who will then go on to represent their club in regional qualifiers with a national final to be held on the Smurfit Course at The K Club on Monday May 9.

The winning club will be invited to send their team (male and female participant) as well as an official nominated by the club to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am.

The format for the regional qualifiers and final will be Four-Ball Stableford with handicaps applied in accordance with the CONGU Unified Handicapping System.

History in the Making

As well as offering clubs the chance to play in the Pro-Am, there are plenty of other reasons why this years Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is already making history.

Firstly, this years prize fund is 4 million, an Irish Open record which is sure to attract some of golfs most exciting players.

In addition, having officially hosted a sell-out Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down last year, 2016 is the first year that Rory will be hosting a tournament south of the border, through his charity the Rory Foundation.

A portion of all tickets sales this year will go towards the Foundation which was established by McIlroy in 2013 to help children live better lives by raising funds and offering support to childrens charities around the world.

This year will also be the first time that The K Club will host Irelands national Open, fittingly on the 10th anniversary of the course hosting Europes memorable victory over the USA in the 2006 Ryder Cup.

For more information on the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation or to purchase tickets www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2016 is also supported by the Irish Government under the auspices of the Filte Ireland and Sport Ireland.

DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN CLUB CHALLENGE: REGIONAL QUALIFIERS

Rules

  • The format of the event is Four-Ball Stableford.
  • Teams consist of one male and one female player.
  • Handicaps are to be applied in accordance with the CONGU Unified Handicapping System.
  • Qualifying teams will advance to the All-Ireland Final to be played on The Smurfit Course at The K Club in early

NORTH: Monday 11th April 2016 at Rockmount Golf Club – 40 teams (top five will qualify)

10:00 Rockmount Dunmurry
10:10 Belvoir Park Bangor
10:20 Warrenpoint Kilrea
10:30 Clandeboye Tandragee
10:40 Dunfanaghy Ballycastle
10:50 Spa Faughan Valley
11:00 Loughgall Greenacres
11:10 Banbridge Clones
11:20 Townley Hall Cairndhu
11:30 Lurgan Moyola Park
11:40 Fortwilliam Ardglass
11:50 Fintona Antrim
12:00 Co Cavan Castle Hume
12:10 Ballyclare Ormeau
12:20 Royal Portrush St Patricks
12:30 Aughnacloy Ballyliffin
12:40 Portsalon Blacklion
12:50 Donegal Enniskillen
13:00 Letterkenny Castlerock
13:10 Carnalea Greencastle

 

WEST: Wednesday 13th April at Galway Bay Golf Club – 28 teams (top four will qualify)

10:00 Galway Bay Galway
10:10 Gort Mountbellew
10:20 Oughterard Portumna
10:30 Cregmore Park Connemara
10:40 Athenry Woodstock
10:50 Lahinch Athlone
11:00 Ballinasloe Roscommon
11:10 Doonbeg Castlebar
11:20 Ballyhaunis Balllina
11:30 Enniscrone Castle Dargan
11:40 Mulranny Co Sligo
11:50 Belmullet Strandhill
12:00 Bundoran Ballyneety
12:10 Nenagh Birr

 

EAST (1): Tuesday 19th April 2016 at Powerscourt Golf Club – 40 teams (top five will qualify)

09:30 Powerscourt Wickow
09:40 Bray Charlesland
09:50 Blessington Lakes Killiney
10:00 Lisheen Springs Woodbrook
10:10 Castle Slade Valley
10:20 Craddockstown Newlands
10:30 Heritage Gowran Park
10:40 Grange Castle Enniscorthy
10:50 The Smurfit Athy
11:00 Tulfarris The K Club
11:10 Carlow Royal Curragh
11:20 Palmertstown Stud Callan
11:30 The Heath Elm Park
11:40 Roscrea Millicent
11:50 Newbridge Highfield
12:00 Grange Mount Juliet
12:10 Tullamore Knockanally
12:20 Faithlegg Tramore
12:30 Borris Waterford Castle
12:40 Foxrock Cahir Park

 

EAST (2): Wednesday 20th April 2016 at Hollystown Golf Club 30 teams (top four will qualify)

10:00 Hollystown Skerries
10:10 The Island St Margarets
10:20 Howth Ashbourne
10:30 Seapoint Kilcock
10:40 Royal Tara Mullingar
10:50 Westmanstown Laytown & Bettystown
11:00 Black Bush Co Louth
11:20 Clontarf Sutton
11:30 Malahide Headfort
11:40 Beaverstown Hermitage
11:50 Forrest Little Dundalk
12:00 Balbriggan Donabtate
12:10 Kilkenny Ashfield
12:20 Carton House Milltown
12:30 Co Armagh Rush

 

SOUTH: Monday 25th April 2016 at Dooks Golf Club – 28 teams (top four will qualify)

10:30 Dooks Killorglin
10:40 Killarney Castlerosse
10:50 Ballybunion Waterville
11:00 Kanturk Castlegregory
11:10 Ring of Kerry Macroom
11:20 Lee Valley Glengarriff
11:30 Newcastle West Mallow
11:50 Blarney Fermoy
12:00 Clonakilty (Dunmore) Fota Island
12:10 Fernhill Lisselan
12:20 Kinsale Muskerry
12:30 Mitchelstown Thurles
12:40 Skibbereen Youghal
12:50 Gold Coast Tipperary

 

Barry Phelan