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Northern Ireland boy's golf guide proves a hit with foreign fans planning Open visit

By Gillian Halliday

A teenager from Co Down has swung into action to write his own unofficial online guide to next year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush - and it's proving popular with overseas golf fans.

Benjamin Griffiths (14) from Holywood co-created the website portrushopen2019.com with his father Tom for golf fans visiting Northern Ireland for the major event next July.

Benjamin, a pupil at Sullivan Upper, which boasts our own golf star Rory McIlroy as one of its former students, launched the site in early September.

Boasting sightseeing tips as well as a guide to the various banknotes used here, the site was recently endorsed by global publication Golf Monthly online.

In particular, its guide on 'Norn Iron' slang - complete with golf analogies to explain phrases like 'What's the craic?' - was singled out by Golf Monthly as a must-read.

Around 190,000 people are expected to flock to the north coast next July for the 148th Open, which will be only the second time that the tournament has been held outside of England or Scotland.

When tickets went on sale this summer, organisers hailed it as the "fastest-selling" launch in the history of the prestigious event.

With less than a year to go until tee-off, Benjamin said he was delighted that the site has received such a positive response.

"It's kind of amazing, I didn't think it would happen. Visitors on average spend three to five minutes on the site, which is great," he said.

The Year 10 student said part of the inspiration to create the site was his love of spending time on the north coast, which he visits with his dad, mum Carolyn and brothers James (12) and Joshua (8) to surf.

"I love the north coast with the beaches where I surf a lot and go sandboarding in the dunes," he said.

He said he will be cheering on Rory when he takes to the scenic course next summer for the prestigious event.

"It's pretty cool that Rory went to my school," he added.

Mr Griffiths said he was "proud and delighted" that his son's site has garnered such great feedback.

"He built it from scratch and has learned so much from it," he explained.

"Benjamin loves this idea that the site's about showcasing all things Northern Irish."

Benjamin’s key NI phrases for visitors

PHRASE: 'Catch yerself on'

MEANS: 'Wise up! To be used when fellow spectators make ridiculous statements, like: "I don't think Rory McIlroy will win The Open!" Your reply, especially if in the company of locals, should be a sharp "Catch yerself on!" Handshakes may well be swapped.

phrase: 'What's the craic?

MEANS: 'How are you?' or 'What's up?' You'll hear this a lot, but you are not in the middle of a drug deal, we promise. To be used when you hand over your ticket to get into The Open. While they check it you ask, while nodding your head slightly backwards, "What's the craic?"

PHRASE: 'Boggin'

MEANS: 'Filthy'. To be used if Sergio Garcia's caddy walks up with some serious turf attached to his clubs. Say: "Sergio's clubs are boggin! Mr Garcia must have been swinging around in the rough down there!" You'll get nods of agreement.

PHRASE: 'Buck eejit'

means: 'Idiot'. To be used when a spectator makes a noise and puts the golfers off. Point at them, turn to the local next to you and say "Buck eejit!" while throwing your head back in disgust. You'll be accepted straight away and might get an invite to a family wedding.

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