Rory urges clubs to back Irish Open initiatives

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy is urging golf clubs across Ireland to embrace this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation to help make it one of ‘the best ever’.

“The Irish Open has always been very close to my heart but I would love this year’s event to be even more special as it will once again be hosted by the Rory Foundation,” said Rory.

Rory is fiercely proud of where he comes from and has been a great ambassador for Irish golf. Now he’s determined to maintain the Irish Open’s position as one of the premier events on the European Tour.

Rory added; “We are truly blessed with loads of great, accessible courses which I have no doubt has played a big part in Ireland punching well above its weight with the exceptional golfing talent we have produced, north and south, over the years.”

The Holywood golfer has produced a ‘five point plan’ to help clubs and their members to get involved in the tournament which takes place at The K Club in Co. Kildare from May 19-22.

“We can achieve this if we all pull together, which is why I’m asking clubs to embrace this year’s event, get involved and help make it one of the best ever. I’m really looking forward to working with our golf clubs to promote what I believe is one of the best tournaments on the professional circuit - in one of the best golfing destinations in the world,” concluded McIlroy.

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 children’s charities around the world.

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

Rory’s Five-point Plan.

1) Play in the Pro-Am competition – The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Challenge

Title sponsor Dubai Duty Free is offering one lucky team from an Irish golf club the unique opportunity to play in this year’s Pro-Am. So Rory, in conjunction with the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) and Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU), is asking all clubs in Ireland, north and south, to use existing competitions to find a Men’s and Ladies’ champion (Junior members also eligible to compete) to represent their club in regional qualifiers in late April with a national final to be held on the Smurfit Course at The K Club in early May. The overall winning team, which will also include an official nominated by the winning club, will receive a team invitation to compete alongside a top professional in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am. Full details on how to enter will be available at www.golfnet.ie.

2) The Irish Open Skills Challenge
Rory has teamed up with Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) and The European Tour to encourage golf clubs to take part in this competition which is designed to help children under the age of 15 to develop their Putting, Chipping, Iron Play and Driving skills in a team environment.

Rory is asking every club in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to enter an U15 Boys’ team and an U15 Girls’ team in the provincial qualifiers, with four players per team – each specialising in one of the four particular skills. The four individual skill scores are combined to make up a final team score and the winning team from the national final will win a unique ‘meet and greet’ opportunity with a top player at this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am. Full details on how to enter will be available at www.golfnet.ie.

3) Get Into Golf With Rory
One of Rory’s key aims this year is to encourage children who have never picked up a club to take an interest in golf. So he has joined forces with the CGI to develop an exciting new schools programme called Get Into Golf With Rory. Throughout the country, more than 30 clubs have been selected to run a five-week primary school coaching programme with follow-on activities and membership packages. Schools have yet to be selected but the overall aim of the programme is to offer thousands of primary school pupils the opportunity to get their first taste of golf and create a pathway to continue golf in their local golf club. Full details on the Get Into Golf With Rory programme will be available at www.golfnet.ie.

4) Group deals for Clubs
From his early days at Holywood Golf Club, Rory has always loved the camaraderie and community spirit of golf clubs so this year he is encouraging clubs to enjoy the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open experience as a club. To help with this, the European Tour and Rory have created a number of special ticket and coach offers that are exclusive to golf clubs. So hop on board – and why not bring the family too for a great day out! What’s more, Rory will give the top four clubs who bring the most members as a group a personally signed Pin Flag to proudly display in their clubhouse! Details on how clubs can travel as a group to this year’s Irish Open will be available at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com.

5) Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Club Ambassadors 
It takes someone very special to bring these ideas together for the club so Rory is asking every golf club in Ireland to nominate one individual as its Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Ambassador who will be the main point of contact for all of these proposed club initiatives – and all things relating to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Clubs wanting to nominate their Ambassador should email kate@cgigolf.org.