This month’s (July) 148th Open Championship is shaping up to be the best yet. Returning to the historic venue of Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland after a 68-year absence, the Open will be played out over four gruelling days between July 18 and 21.
Among the world’s top golfers going head to head for the famous Claret Jug will be world No.1 Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and current US Masters champion Tiger Woods. Other star turns include defending Open champion Francesco Molinari and former winners Rory McIlory, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, as well as local boy Graeme McDowell. Who will win is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure: the competition will be fierce with only the top 70 players making the cut after 36 holes.
What to do at The Open
To make the most of your experience, download the official App of The Open before the event for the latest news and updates with an interactive course guide that allows you to track your favourite players around the course.
Look out for the multitude of homages to Dungannon-born 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke and the plaque displaying the course record of 61 set by fellow countryman McIlory in the 2005 Amateur Open Championship.
Situated on the stunning Causeway coast, Royal Portrush is two courses rolled into one, featuring one of the world’s most challenging link courses, the Dunluce Links, and the Valley Links. The most dramatic hole is the Par-4 411-yard 5th with its dogleg played from an elevated tee facing the Atlantic. Come up too short and the ball will fall into the wide expanse of rough or too far and you’ll end up on White Rocks beach. Many a ball has also been lost in the chasm between the tee and green on the Par-3 ‘Calamity’ 16th. Then grab a ringside seat at the 18th green and watch the drama unfold.
If you feel like putting your feet up for a couple of hours head to the Spectator Village to watch the action unfold on one of the giant TV screens. Make sure you take a waterproof in case it rains, and a pair of sunglasses and a bottle of water, particularly if it’s a hot day. And bring plenty of cash as there are hot and cold food outlets available throughout the course and in the Spectator Village serving locally-sourced and healthy produce. But beware, no selfie sticks or dogs allowed on the course. And before leaving pay a visit to the shop for a souvenir of this truly special event.
Out and about
If you have time to explore the local surroundings make a beeline for Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 40,000 hexagonal stone columns formed by a volcanic eruption. The dramatic 16th Century medieval Dunluce Castle perched high above the Atlantic is also well worth a visit, as is the Dark Hedges country road between Armoy and Stranocum, immortalised by the hit TV series Games of Thrones. Another must is Old Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery, where you can raise a glass sampling some of its finest produce.
The Open 2020
Next year’s 149th Open will be held at Royal St George’s in Kent for the first time since Clarke’s memorable 2011 victory.
The Experience St Andrews is offering four programmes for the 149th Open at Royal St George’s: the 4-Night Spectator Programme, the 5-Night Spectator Programme, the 8-Night Programme including St Andrews, and the 8-Night Programme including Turnberry.
The 4-Night Spectator Programme, which starts on Thursday July 16th, includes two days’ admission to The Open on Friday and Saturday and a sightseeing tour of historic Leeds Castle and Canterbury.
The 5-Night Spectator Programme, arriving on Wednesday July 15th, includes three days’ admission on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a sightseeing tour of Leeds Castle and Canterbury.
The 8-Night Spectator Programme including St Andrews, starting on Thursday July 16th, includes three rounds of golf on the Old Course; the New Jubilee or Castle Course; and Carnoustie Championship Course.
The 8-Night Spectator Programme including Turnberry, also commencing on July 16th, includes three rounds of golf on the Ailsa Course; the Prestwick; and Royal Troon Course.
For more information or to book one of our programmes for The Open call +44 (0)1334 441350 for the U.K., or 914 481 8594 or toll free on 888 552 5632 for the U.S., or email firstname.lastname@example.org