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Millions of US fans tune in for special on golf in Northern Ireland


By Adam McKendry

Over six million households in the US are set to watch a documentary on TV network Golf Channel about golf, tourism and hospitality in Northern Ireland.

'Ginella's Journeys' will be broadcast during the week leading up to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which is held at Portstewart Golf Club this year from July 6-9.

In the episode, host Matt Ginella will visit Portstewart ahead of its first hosting of the Irish Open, as well as venturing to neighbouring Royal Portrush, which will hold The Open Championship in 2019, and Ardglass Golf Club.

On top of that, Ginella also spends some time at the Bushmills Distillery and Titanic Belfast.

Ginella's Journeys is a segment on the Golf Channel show Morning Drive, one of the network's most popular shows, and is expected to be viewed by six million households across the US.

It will be promoted across Golf Channel social media and will be accompanied by various advertisements, including a bespoke one for Northern Ireland TV which will air simultaneously.

Ginella's three-day tour of Northern Ireland was organised by Tourism NI, whose Golf Marketing Manager Eimear Callaghan believes the trip will prove significant.

"Northern Ireland is made for golf and we are gaining global recognition for our world-class courses, golfers and hospitality," Callaghan commented.

"133,000 golf visitors per annum visit Northern Ireland, contributing approximately £32million to the local economy, and we have plans to increase this to £50million by 2020.

"The North American visitor market will play a key role in meeting this target and having Ginella's Journeys filmed in Northern Ireland will project emotive imagery and positive reviews of our world-class golf and hospitality to potential golf visitors in a bid to encourage them to make Northern Ireland their next golf holiday destination."

Alison Metcalfe, the head of Tourism Ireland in North America, also emphasised the importance of their work in promoting Irish golf in the US.

"We were delighted to invite Matt Ginella, of Ginella's Journeys, to Northern Ireland to showcase the world-class golf on offer here to a huge audience of potential American golf holidaymakers," Metcalfe said.

"Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way this year, which included the launch of our new golf ad on the NBC Golf Channel, during the US Masters last week.

"This year, we are highlighting the 2017 Irish Open at Portstewart and the 148th Open, which is set to take place at Royal Portrush in 2019.

"Our message is that Northern Ireland offers American golfers the complete package - with some of the very best golf in the world, stunning scenery and the warmest of welcomes."

The Northern Ireland special of Ginella's Journeys will be shown on Golf Channel's Morning Drive the week beginning July 3.

Elsewhere, 60 of Ireland's best golfers will battle it out on Saturday, April 23 at Lough Erne to earn one of 16 places on the Irish International Kings Cup squad to face the US in May.

The tournament, which is played to honour Arnold Palmer, sees 16 of the best amateurs from Ireland take on their counterparts from America in a style similar to the Ryder Cup.

The top 16 scorers at the Faldo Course at Lough Erne will comprise Ireland's team for the three-day event, which will run from May 23-25.

Belfast Telegraph

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