The Irish Open Golf Championship was established 88 years ago, in 1927. Between this date and 1950 it was held every year, apart from during the war years. Since it was revived in 1975, it has once again been held annually in Ireland. This hugely popular tournament is the only European Tour event held in Ireland, and remains hugely popular with golf fanatics from Ireland and around the world.
Since 2014, the tournament has been hosted by Rory McIlroy, whose charitable foundation is the main benefactor. Since then the tournament has taken the name of its title sponsor, Dubai Duty Free.
The previous winners of this tournament read like a ‘who’s who’ of the golfing world. In mid-1980s Seve Ballestros famously claimed the title three times in four years! Since 2014 the tournament has been one of the qualifying events for the Open Championship, with the three leading players who finish in the top ten and are not already qualified going through.
Last Year’s Tournament
Last year’s tournament (held at the Royal Country Down in Ulster) was won by Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen, with a score of 282 and -2 to par. He took away the winner’s share of €416,660. Runner’s up were Englishman Eddie Pepperell and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.
The Venue for 2016
Next year the Irish Open will be held at the stunning K Hotel which is located in Straffan, County Kildare. This luxury complex, owned by Irish business magnate Sir Michael Smufit, is located in the grounds of the old Straffan Estate, and is centred around the awe-inspiring Straffan House, which dates from the 1830s.
The K Hotel is a 5 AA Red Star Hotel, containing renowned bars and restaurants and a luxury spa. A €20 million refit was completed in August 2015. The great and good have repeatedly been attracted to sample the luxury of this resort, where activities on offer include fly fishing, horse riding, archery, falconry and tennis as well as golf.
The complex boasts two golf courses, both of which were designed by Arnold Palmer. The Palmer Course was the venue for the Ryder Cup in 2006, which was the first time this event had ever been staged in Ireland. This same course has also hosted the Smurfit European Open on the European Tour.
Go to the Irish Open in 2016
Why not visit County Kildare to watch this famous tournament next year? It’s possible to do this as part of an Irish Gold Tour. Advance tickets are now available through the tournament’s official website. There is plenty to see in the area once the tournament is over, too. Why not hike Arthur’s Way, a 16km heritage trail that allows visitors to follow in the footsteps of Arthur Guinness.
There a wealth of other outdoor activities available, as well as a selection of pretty villages to explore. Though it’s located in the rolling hills of County Kildare, the complex is also only thirty minutes drive from the centre of bustling Dublin, with all of the attractions this famous City has to offer.
Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.