Ballyliffin and North West relishing Irish Open opportunity

Bernie McGuire

While defending champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut in last week’s Dell Technologies Championship there were two representatives of Irish golf who were in attendance for the duration of the elite PGA Tour Play-Off event.

John McLaughlin, CEO of North and West Coast Links Golf Ireland, has attended a number of PGA Tour events proudly extolling the virtues of the nine-member courses.

Accompanying John for a first time at a PGA Tour host venue was John Farren, the very proud and excited General Manager of Ballyliffin Golf Club after confirmation at the recent Dubai Duty Free Irish Open that Ballyliffin will play host to the 2018 tournament.


However, McLaughlin and Farren did not spend their time entirely at TPC Boston happily offering advice and distributing pamphlets to countless hundreds of American golf fans.

McLaughlin revealed he and Farren had meetings during and after the event won by Justin Thomas and one of those meetings was with representatives of Norwegian Airlines.

McLaughlin explains if their discussions with Norwegian Airlines comes to fruition it will not only benefit American golfers crossing ‘The Pond’ but all golfers travelling with the airline, a carrier that is quickly and aggressively redefining travel throughout Ireland, Europe and the lucrative American market.

“John and I attended the Dell Technologies to meet as many of the corporate sponsors as we could,” said McLaughlin. “We had two days at the tournament and two days of meetings in Boston and the following the tournament we headed to nearby Providence and sat down with representatives of Norwegian Airlines who have revolutionised the cost of travel to the States from Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

And before returning home we were in New York hosting 40 executives from the financial sector in also helping promote golf to the North and West region of Ireland.

“We have been flying the flag for North and West Golf in Ireland for 28-years, so we are growing every year and it was fantastic time for John from Ballyliffin to travel with me and while Portstewart, one of our member courses, recently hosted the very successful 2017 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open it will be Ballyliffin’s honour next year.”

“So, there is lots of fantastic things happening in our area and hopefully with corporate visits to events such as the Dell Technologies and hosting functions like we did in New York our member courses, and they also include Royal Portrush, Rosapenna, Enniscrone, Carne, Ardglass, Donegal and Castlerock, will see more and more Americans travelling to the region to play these golf courses.”

“It is not just enough to be hosting an Irish Open as we need to be out there promoting the region, making offers and giving people options where they can book a game of golf and a hotel room and that is what North and West Golf Links is all about and that is providing that package.”

No one was more excited than Farren when Ballyliffin was confirmed as host venue for the 2018 Irish Open.

It will be the northern-most Irish course to play host to an Irish Open and on the Pat Ruddy-designed Glasheddy course, and with Pat on hand for the announcement at Portstewart.

“It is a break-through year for Ballyliffin and the whole region to be playing host to an Irish Open and that makes even more important with regards to the US eastern seaboard market”, said Farren.

“And if our meeting with the executives of Norwegian Airlines materialises it could be a huge game-changer not only for those golfers travelling on the airline to Ireland but to all of their destinations.”

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