GOLF: Work progressing well at 2019 Open Championship course

Work nears completion on the seventh hole at Royal Portrush.

Work nears completion on the seventh hole at Royal Portrush.

Work in progressing well at Royal Portrush as we move even closer to the much anticipated return of the Open Championship in 2019.

The work has been going on for the last 12 months under the watchful eye of Course Manager Graeme Beatt.

The course will undergo a significant transformation ahead of the return of the Open Championship.

The overall length of the course will be increased by just under 200 yards to 7,337 yards, while a number of new bunkers will be added to bring the total to 62.

The new seventh and eighth holes will utilise land from the adjacent Valley Course to develop a new par-five, playing down into the valley encompassing that course’s sixth hole, and then a par four, playing back over its fifth hole into some beautiful duneland.

The work has been progressing well and Graeme has been keeping everyone up to speed with the developments every week via his blog.

In his most recent post last week Graeme said work was progressing well despite the recent wet weather.

“The team have been busy re-building bunkers and building new ones,” he said.

“The bunker short of the first green was started today and should be finished tomorrow. The practice bunkers were also started and we will endeavour to have them done for the weekend.

“After such relentless rainfall the water table is effecting play on the Valley course. We have been pumping water from the sump and have now moved almost 1000m3 which to put in perspective is the equivalent of 30 times the large irrigation tank at the 2nd. More days like today will be more than welcome.

“The new greens are improving week on week and received some hand topdressing yesterday to improve smoothness.

“When the turf begins to root they will be spiked to 10mm with a blunt tine and over seeded. Topdressing of all new areas will be done whenever weather and growth allows.”

The new second is complete with bunkers and the seventh nears completion.

While the course has come out on top in a recent poll to find the best Links courses in Ireland.

Backspin Golf Magazine’s annual course ranking poll placed the venue in first place.

This poll reflects the views of 75 experienced golfers with a deep knowledge and appreciation of the Irish golf product.

To assist them in making their choices each voter was provided with a complete list of Irish courses, Links and Parkland.

Voters were asked to nominate their 15 favourite courses in each category courses that impress and delight them most in order of preference. Royal Portrush was first from Portmarnock and Royal County Down.