Irish Open finds Fota home for 2014

The Irish Open will return to Fota Island Resort this year after being played there last in 2002. This will provide great news for the people of Cork and also Fota’s recent Chinese investors, The Kang Group Worldwide, who will be looking to showcase their new venue to golfers around Ireland, Europe and the World. There is no specific news on the future venues for the Irish Open but with many sponsors already committed to supporting the tournament, including The Kang Group itself, it promises to be a great few days at Fota! The date straight after the US Open is not particularly ideal still especially with it being followed by the BMW International, French Open, Scottish Open and The Open Championship as some players will take at least 1 week off between the US Open and Open Championship. The August Bank Holiday date that Killarney enjoyed was fantastic for fans although it would now clash with the WGC Bridgestone Invitational now, it’s tough to fit all these tournaments in to maximise the best fields but I think the Irish Open should start getting a better slot on the calendar with the event getting some security in the coming years.

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The news has been heralded by many Irish tour professionals, including World no.7 Rory McIlroy who stated: “I think it is great news that the Irish Open will be played at Fota Island……..The country’s National Open should be moved around to give everyone an opportunity to see the event, and it also gives us the chance to show the world just how many amazing courses there are in Ireland. Fota Island will be an exciting venue for the Irish Open, and exactly the kind of place to showcase what Ireland has to offer as a golf destination.”

Monty 2001    Soren Hansen

There have been quite a few changes to Fota since they last hosted the Irish Open in 2002, with significant investment in the Resort facilities itself along with much real estate being built and also an additional 9 holes to add to the Championship 18-hole course that hosted the 2001 and 2002 Irish Opens. It has always been a course kept in great condition and I’m sure this will be no different when June comes around.

It is also great to see the tournament supported locally by Cork City and County Councils as well as from the private sector in the form of BAM Contractors. Having such support on board already will take a lot of pressure off courting sponsors over the coming months, will this give the European Tour and/or Fáilte Ireland the opportunity to secure the future of the Irish Open with venues and also sponsors? I definitely hope so!

Advance tickets for the 2014 Irish Open are on sale now at a special promotional price of €25 for Adult Day Tickets and €50 for Adult Season Tickets (concessions €15 and €30). A limited number of tickets at those promotional prices – saving up to €10 for a day pass and €20 for a season – on the gate prices are currently available on a first come first served basis. Golf fans are encouraged to apply now for tickets on www.europeantour.com/tickets or www.irishopen.ie

When the sun shines at the Irish Open there are few better places to be and Cork is also greatcraic” at tournament time as well………just don’t tell those langers that, they know that already!!

Irish Open logo

Social Media Open 2014

On the back of a hugely successful Inaugural Tournament in April of 2013 during Masters week in Ireland, the Social Media Open returns to these golfing shores in April of 2014 for its 2nd Annual Tournament. With over 50 golfers already down to play next year it promises to be a great event once more and very competitive one. Playing in during Masters week as well means playing golf by day and watching the finest golfers in the World battle it out at Augusta by night, with maybe a few social drinks to accompany the evening’s festivities!

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There are a couple of changes for the 2014 Tournament, Doonbeg replaces Mount Juliet as the venue for Day 1 on Wednesday 9th April while Adare swaps with Castlemartyr as the Limerick course will now stage the 2nd Round while the Cork venue hosts Round 3. As expected, the Old Head Golf Links provides the crescendo with the Final Round being played there on Sunday 13th April 2014.

Doonbeg Golf Club is a true links course and the County Clare venue has one of the finest backdrops for golf, based right beside Doughmore Beach. It will definitely provide a great test on Day 1 but one I’m sure all the competitors will enjoy! Accommodation will be available at the Lahinch Golf Hotel that evening for those on Play & Stay Packages.

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The awesome Adare GC will host the 2nd Round, returning by popular demand from the Inaugural Event where every competitor was delighted with the course and especially the condition of the greens. The Trent Jones Snr design, his last ever actually, has consistently been ranked as the No.1 Parkland course in the country and it is easy to see why. We are very much looking forward to playing this course again in 2014. The road to Cork then beckons for the next 4 nights and 2 rounds as Kinsale becomes home for the majority of the field.

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The short trip to Castlemartyr for those on Play & Stay packages awaits on the morning on Day 3. The Ron Kirby design, of Nicklaus Design and Old Head fame, provides a good challenge around the grounds of the estate. There are some very quirky holes here and with some tight short par-4s to negotiate, especially on the front 9, the course will ensure any score you get here you will deserve. The closing 6 holes here are particularly good and provide for a great finish. For those on Play & Stay packages it’s back to Kinsale to enjoy the 2nd Round of The Masters, with a day off to come on Saturday 12th April it could be a late night! Talk of whiskey tasting at The Folkhouse is already abound.

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Saturday, as was the case for the Inaugural Event, will be a Rest Day and it was much needed after the first 3 rounds in 2013. Extra golf can of course be arranged but most people decided to take it easy as it was the only day to recharge the batteries. There were plenty of competitors who decided to sample the fine watering holes around Kinsale this year though and I’m sure this will be the same again in 2014 – The Greyhound, The Market, Oscar Madisons and The Folkhouse being likely venues for some craic!

Greyhound Bar       White Lady3

Sunday the 12th April 2014 will be the Final Day of the Social Media Open with the Old Head Golf Links hosting the Final Round. One of the most spectacular courses in the World, the Old Head became an instant favourite among all SM Open competitors with the vast majority of them having not played the course before. It was a must that this amazing course would be on the itinerary for the 2nd Annual Tournament and we are delighted that it will be. The Prize Presentation will take place after golf in the Old Head Clubhouse, 1st Prize being a Custom Fit Driver for each member of the winning team from Fore Golf, the opportunity to defend your Title in 2015 with Free Golf for all tournament rounds and of course you also get The Grace Murphy Trophy to take home for the year as well!

Winners 2013    Defending Champs!    2012-11-21 10.05.01

Other prizes include PING wedges; Golf Breaks to Killarney and Kilkenny; Golf vouchers for Old Head, Doonbeg, Adare, Castlemartyr, City West and Tulfarris; Swingbyte 2.0 units, Metro Golf Dublin Vouchers, Royal & Awesome pants & hats and MyCoverPics covers!!

If you have any queries on the 2014 Social Media Open email socialmediaopen@gmail.com, team spaces are filling up fast so we are likely to sell out before our entry deadline of Friday 29th November.

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