Portrush was once a small fishing village which later became a busy seaside holiday resort before Royal Portrush Golf Club emerged as an international golf destination.
It is a club with a long and distinguished tradition with world class links which are set in spectacular rolling sand dunes with breath taking coastal views.
Royal Portrush is a golfing venue like no other.
Royal Portrush has staged national and international amateur championships for more than 100 years, and over 50 have been decided on the famous Dunluce Links. The first, the inaugural Irish Open Amateur was held in 1892, and the list includes three Amateur men’s championships.
The club has a rich, powerful and fascinating history which embraces all aspects of the amateur game. It is centrally involved in the development of ladies golf in Britain and Ireland, and also hosts the annual North of Ireland Men’s Championship run by the Golfing Union of Ireland. The first professional tournament ever held in Ireland was organised by the club in September 1895 when it’s first professional, Alex ‘Sandy’ Herd, a Scot, defeated the then comparatively unknown Harry Vardon in match play.
Even though he was based at Balmoral, south Belfast when he won the Open at Royal Liverpool in 1947, Fred Daly always regarded Royal Portrush as his spiritual home. He finished fourth when the championship was first played here in 1951, the year Max Faulkner triumphed. Daly was the first Irishman to win a Major, and although there was a gap of 60 years before the next succeeded, others with strong Portrush connections quickly followed.
Graeme McDowell, Portrush born, won the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, and a year later Darren Clarke presented his Royal St Georges Open Championship medal to Royal Portrush, the club he adopted as his home club. Rory McIlroy, shot a course record of 61 on Dunluce when he was just aged 16 as a signal of his intentions, before going on to twice win the US PGA (2012, Kiawah Island and 2014 at Valhalla,) the US Open (2011 at Congressional), and the Open (2014, Royal Liverpool).
Many believe it was this astonishing run of victories in the aftermath of Padraig Harrington’s two triumphs at the Open (2007 at Carnoustie and 2008 at Royal Birkdale) and his victory at the US PGA (2008 at Oakland Hills) as well as the hugely successful staging of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in 2012 which had a huge impact in persuading the R & A to bring their championship back to the North Coast for the first time in 68 years.
McIlroy first met Clarke on the Dunluce Links on the day he celebrated his 10th birthday.
Years later he declared: ‘There is something about this place which is very special. It holds great memories for me. When you grow up so close to great courses like this you take them for granted. ‘Then you play all over the world and comeback and realise just how good it is.’ McDowell, Clarke, McIlroy and Harrington are honorary members of Royal Portrush.