In one of the more heart-warming announcements of 2019, a gem that has lay dormant for too long has finally been awoken with news that the Carlingford Lough Golf Classic will return to the Irish calendar in 2019.
The event, played across three stunning layouts – Greenore, Kilkeel and Warrenpoint, was relaunched to great acclaim at Warrenpoint Golf Club ahead of its scheduled return in June after a 30-year absence.
“We are delighted to act as one of the host clubs for this event and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with Greenore and Kilkeel Golf Clubs,” said Warrenpoint Men’s Captain Raymond Duffin.
“Those playing in the event are in for a real treat, not least getting to play three fantastic courses in the counties of Down and Louth. We also want to thank Newry, Mourne and Down Council for their help with the event and our main sponsor, Visit Carlingford.
“The committee have been working very hard to relaunch this event and they deserve great credit for their efforts. We have no doubt that this event will be a great success because of their hard work and the support of sponsors, media and golf clubs across the country.”
At an announcement with a sense of nostalgia at its core, Paddy Duffy, one of the founders of the classic, provided all those in attendance with a wonderful history of the event.
Back in 1989, some 30 years ago this year, the idea of the classic was born. It was a time where tournament entrants scribbled their names in writing and only those with a legible hand would take part. Yet even without the efficiency of online forms to make things wholly accessible, the event proved itself an instant hit.
“Ronan Rafferty helped with the original launch in Kilkeel in 1989,” said Duffy, “and funnily enough he won the Order of Merit that year. £400,000 he got for that – some people get that just for finishing runner-up now,” he noted.
“The first winner was another celebrity in Pat Jennings, he actually went on to win it twice, while Mary Clerk from Greenore was the first Ladies’ winner.
“Back in that time the clubs were very lucky that they had three wonderful secretaries -Des Rafferty, Sam Rutherford and Bernard Rafferty. They all passed away during the time of the event and the committee then dedicated a trophy each for the best overall score at Kilkeel in memory of Sam Rutherford, one for Warrenpoint in honour of Des Rafferty and the same at Greenore in memory of Bernard.
“As the tournament progressed and we entered the world of computer technology. We recruited councillor Michael Carr through his company Carr Golf with the tournament continuing to grow from strength to strength and I’m delighted that 30 years later, it’s coming back again.
“I’d like to wish the organisers every success, and I know it will be a success for all concerned come June.”
“Don’t count the years, count the memories,” was the message from incoming Lady Captain, Ann McAteer, who sits on the committee for the event, as she recalled with affection a local competition that established so many ongoing friendships in the region.
“The event goes live on BRS from February 11th and you’ll have the facility of booking the three courses with one simple phone call which is a great attraction. As a committee, we are absolutely delighted to have reached today and we’re very much looking forward to a very successful weekend of the 14th, 15th & 16th of June. We’ll all enjoy it.”
The importance of the relaunch wasn’t lost on local committee members either with councillor and Newry, Mounre & Down Chairperson, Mark Murnin on hand to express his best wishes to the organisers.
“I’m delighted to be here representing Newry, Mourne and Down council for the relaunching of the Carlingford Lough Classic which takes place on three great golf courses,” said Murnin.
“It’s not only going to be great for golf in the region but it will positively impact other businesses as we welcome competitors from outside our districts.
“We’re very excited to be involved in this great event as we aim to grow golf tourism in the area. I wish all the clubs involved every success in the event and hopefully this year is the first of many more to come.”
Richard Brennan from Visit Carlingford, one of the event’s main sponsors, echoed the sentiments and although he couldn’t recall the event of 30 years ago first-hand, he was only too happy to back the relaunch given what he’d heard from someone close to his heart.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to help the guys out with the promotion and relaunch of the Carlingford Lough Golf Classic,” said Brennan. “I don’t remember this now to be honest,” he laughed,” but I remember my Mother always talked about it and she played in it regularly so it’s great to have it back!
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get, not only locals, but visitors from around Ireland back here to push it on and play in it every year.”
Booking is now open for the Carlingford Lough Golf Classic with the event set to take place on the 14th, 15th & 16th of June across these three wonderful golf clubs: Greenore Golf Club, Warrenpoint Golf Club, Kilkeel Golf Club
600 people in total are expected to take part and rates are as follows with rates of £60/€70 for member and £90/€100 for visitors and each registered individual will receive a meal voucher but more importantly, the opportunity to take part in one of the country’s most enjoyable golf outings.
With slots expected to fill up fast, you can call Paul Reavie now to reserve your place in the field on Tel: 048 41753695 from ROI or 028 41753695 from NI.
For accommodation and other booking enquiries, please see https://visitcarlingford.com/