New golf tournament continues Northern Ireland's love of the game
Northern Ireland is renowned for its challenging links courses – with golfers travelling from around the globe to play on the championship coastline greens consistently named among the best in the world.
But the story of golf on the island of Ireland all began with a parkland course in Belfast.
In the summer of 1881 Thomas Sinclair and George L Baillie approached Captain John Harrison, the Laird of Holywood, who generously gave permission for a golf course to be laid out free of rent on his land at Kinnegar, Holywood. These frontiersmen of golf wasted no time and the first 18 hole competition took place over the new 6 hole course on Boxing Day 1881.
Today that course is the prestigious Royal Belfast Golf Club, a course of great charm which provides a true test of golfing skill and enjoys unrivalled views of Belfast Lough and the Antrim plateau beyond.
It is one of three respected golf clubs to make up the inaugural Belfast International Parkland Tournament 2017, taking place from 3-5 July, in what is sure to be a momentous week for golf in Northern Ireland.
The competition will offer golfers the opportunity to play three parkland courses from, including Royal Belfast, Malone Golf Club, and Shandon Park Golf Club with the opportunity for entrants to also gain reduced fees at Holywood and Belvoir Park golf clubs.
The course at Malone gently rolls through 330 acres of immaculately maintained parkland along the River Lagan, with the many mature trees awaiting a wayward tee shot.
Shandon Park delivers an enjoyable challenge for all. The two shot sixth hole is a 455 yard giant, demanding accuracy from the tee and a downhill second shot of equal precision into a well-protected green.
Both men and women can enter the tournament with prices starting at £99 per person, with the first 50 people to enter receiving a free individual green fee at one of the participating courses.
With the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open coming to Portstewart this July and The Open Championship to Royal Portrush in 2019, Northern Ireland is now a must-see destination for golfers with world-class courses.
But the Belfast International Parkland Tournament is arguably our best kept secret – so get in first and celebrate three days of golf in Belfast.
Turn your golfing trip into a short break by staying at one of the classy four and five-star hotels nearby on the outskirts of Belfast.
The Crowne Plaza hotel sitsin the picturesque surroundings of Lagan Valley Regional Park, just 10 minutes’ drive from Belfast's thriving city centre. It has stylish dining, complimentary Wi-Fi and a 20 metre indoor pool.
The Park Avenue Hotel is in a great location for exploring Belfast’s Titanic Quarter – and it’s home to a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
Or if you want five-star luxury, upgrade to the magnificent Culloden Estate and Spa, which stands on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills overlooking Belfast Lough.
To plan your short break, and for more information about Belfast International Parkland Tournament, visit DiscoverNorthernIreland.com.
3 nearby attractions
Join a walking whiskey tour around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter with Irish whiskey ambassador Joe Magowan. Experience a selection of Belfast’s best whiskey bars, a whiskey cocktail demonstration and tasty nibbles. Enjoy eight very different whiskeys and discover an appreciation of Irish whiskey and the Belfast bars that serve it.
First established in 1828, Botanic Gardens has been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895. Featuring an extensive rose garden and long herbaceous borders, the Palm House was designed by Charles Lanyon, and is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse.
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
Explore thatched cottages, farms, schools and shops as you experience life from over 100 years ago. Chat to costumed visitor guides as they demonstrate traditional crafts and meet farm animals in the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum. Then step aboard majestic steam locomotives and explore horse drawn carriages, electric trams, boats, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars in the Transport Museum.
Belfast Telegraph Digital