Niall back to help guide Galgorm event in an upward direction
The countdown to the Northern Ireland Open is on with seven weeks to go before some of the game's best players arrive at Galgorm Castle for the standout event on the European Challenge Tour's international schedule.
Plans are well underway to ensure the 2018 NI Open is even bigger and better than previous years with the promise of world class golf played over the championship course plus an extensive schedule of events and activities organised alongside.
One of the undoubted highlights will be the NI Open Pro-am on Wednesday, August 15 ahead of the tournament opening round on Thursday.
The timesheets will read like a who's who with star names from the local sport and entertainment scene.
Golf enthusiasts such as rugby's Rory Best and Stephen Ferris, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill and snooker's Mark Allen were just some of the names who played in last year's Pro-am.
With former One Direction star Niall Horan's Modest! Golf back on board and playing another key role in the event, last year's 43,000 attendance could be topped.
"We have another star-studded line-up for this year's Pro-am and plans will be finalised in the coming weeks," said Ross Oliver, Director of Golf at Galgorm Castle.
"Every year the NI Open attracts a top-class field and 2018 will be no different with former European Tour winners and Ryder Cup players all set to compete at Galgorm from August 16-19. The stars of the future closer to home will also be in action alongside Ireland's established players like Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
"This year we have so many events and activities taking place across the estate, the NI Open promises to another week-long festival of golf," adds Oliver.
Horan undoubtedly brings a star quality to the NI Open and this year's event will have a definite music theme in play at Galgorm with live music from up to 12 different acts performing in tournament week.
The NI Open Village has grown every year and is a popular place to sample many of the activities or take some time out away from the fairways. The Gin Festival was a big hit last year and will once again be in place for a refreshing pitstop adjacent to the 18th green.
Car enthusiasts will also get to see up to 20 Ferraris and other marquee manufacturers when the Driven Club NI drops by during the NI Open.
The GolfNow Junior NI Open was a great success at the Fun Golf Area in 2017 and this year more stars of the future will get their chance to play in the event where parents and families are encouraged to get involved.