The 2013 Irish Open is poised to become a spectacular Festival of Golf next month when Carton House Golf Club welcomes a world class field to County Kildare from June 27-30.
Four Irish Major Champions – Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy - will compete at Carton House along with Carton’s Touring Professional, Shane Lowry, a host of Tour winners and Ryder Cup stars plus 2014 captain Paul McGinley, creating a superb platform for the event’s return to the Republic of Ireland after a visit to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland last year.
The atmosphere ‘outside the ropes’ promises to be equally impressive. The European Tour can today announce two unique initiatives which are certain to add to the party mood and engage with the spectactors attending Ireland’s biggest golf event of the year, and also the thriving local communities within easy reach of Carton House.
The Tour has unveiled plans to transform the 17th hole into a rousing ‘spectator stadium’, with an imposing grandstand seating almost 1,500 fans enveloping the picturesque 176 yard, par three, penultimate hole of the Montgomerie Course, where fans can cheer or even jeer the shots from the famous names, as they watch all of the drama unfold.
There will also be a big screen showing play and scores from the rest of the course throughout the day, ensuring fans can keep up with all of the action.
The hole will be re-named ‘Open House at 17’’ for the duration of the tournament, with the principal aim of creating a special Irish atmosphere at one of the critical holes in the closing stretch at Carton House.
Another unique concept is the Three Towns Initiative - part of a wide range of features aimed at ensuring that the Irish Open becomes a great festival, not just in terms of golf but also the manner in which it involves the wider community including the towns of Maynooth, Leixlip and Celbridge.
Additionally, three former Irish Open champions have all agreed to become Ambassadors for each of the three towns for the duration of the tournament. Australian Brett Rumford, the 2004 Irish Open champion and a two-time winner on The European Tour in 2013, will represent Maynooth; Richard Finch of England, the 2008 winner, be the ambassador for Celbridge while 2010 champion Ross Fisher, also of England, will join forces with Leixlip.
The combined population of Maynooth, Celbridge and Leixlip and their environs is around 50,000 people, with all three towns located between two and three miles from the front gate at Carton House.
A range of initiatives are underway to ensure that there is a ‘Cead Mile Fáilte’ for players, sponsors, media, golf enthusiasts, casual visitors and those who live, work or visit the area to share in the excitement and sense of occasion.
Antonia Beggs, Championship Director of the Irish Open, said: “The European Tour is delighted to announce those two exciting new initiatives which we believe will add to the sense of fun and enjoyment both on the golf course and in the immediate vicinity of Carton House, engendering a wonderful sense of community spirit to complement world class sport.
“After the success of the Irish Open in recent years, including last year’s sell-out at Royal Portrush, we felt this tournament was the perfect vehicle to tap into Ireland’s well known sense of fun and community. I’m sure the Irish golf fans will get behind these enterprises and make them hugely successful.
“We recently announced a programme events for ‘Super Saturday’ incorporating the British and Irish Lions rugby on the big screens in the morning of June 29 followed by the third round of the tournament and the chance to see the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh in the evening. We are very excited about the ‘Open House at 17’initiative which is a first for The European Tour and one which we hope will create a truly special atmosphere at this year’s tournament.”
Tony Lenehan, Failte Ireland’s Head of Golf Tourism said: “We are delighted with the response from businesses and the public in our ‘three towns of the Irish Open’ – Leixlip, Celbridge and Maynooth. We all want the Kildare region to be portrayed in the best positive light to visitors, media and participants during the Irish Open.”
Shane Lowry, Touring Professional for Carton House, said: “This is great news. Irish golf has never been stronger with four Major Champions in our midst and I would encourage everyone living nearby to come along and enjoy the atmosphere and be part of a fantastic event which will be made even more special by the 17th hole initiative.”
Peter Minnock, Director of Services for Kildare County Council and the driving force behind the Three Towns Initiative along with Carton House Managing Partner, Conor Mallaghan, is equally thrilled to be part of the campaign for 2013.
He said: “We want to provide a compelling reason for people living close to Carton House to come along to the Irish Open and be part of a wonderful experience.
“Many local residents may never have been to a golfing event of this nature and this initiative is aimed at enabling as many people as possible to see golf and the world’s best exponents of their craft at first hand, with a focus on youth, local residents and convenience.
“The coming together of the business community and public agencies to energise and support a common agenda is being used as the basis for the planning and preparation needed to make north Kildare a fertile venue for hosting the Irish Open.”
Among the plans for the three towns are:
· The inclusion of a simple guide to golf in a locally produced brochure is intended to help newcomers to understand the basic rules of golf as a sport.
· A shuttle service between the towns and the event to allow easy access to the venue throughout the days of the competition, partly because of the proximity of the population to the venue, but also to limit the inconvenience of significant traffic associated with such an event.
· Each town to adopt a colour-coordinated clothing theme that will identify each town, to add to the level of engagement between the townspeople and the golfers and patrons of the event in a way that will highlight town support for the Player Ambassadors of those towns.
· A charter being adopted in common between the three towns across the business community to demonstrate through fair pricing for accommodation, food and refreshments that will ensure value for money for visitors and residents alike.
· Dressing windows in golfing paraphernalia. This will include best shop front competitions to reinforce the golfing theme and underline the promotion and advertisement of the Irish Open being in town as a ‘not to be missed’ event.
Each town will launch their particular programme of activities and attractions around the Irish Open at Carton House. This will include the schedule of events being held in Irish Open week and also the support of the town for particular named ambassadors.
Meanwhile, fans can now reserve their seat in the 17th hole grandstand for just €10 per day, ensuring that in the year of The Irish Gathering they are part of this exhilarating crowd experience. Big screens will also be erected at the 17th hole allowing spectators to watch all of the action from elsewhere on the course.
Anyone who has already purchased reserved seating for the 18th green grandstand will also receive automatic entrance to the 17th stand. All reserved grandstand seating for the 18th on Saturday and Sunday is now sold out.Information about the 17th hole grandstand at the 2013 Irish Open can be found on www.europeantour.com/tickets, where special advanced tickets offers for the tournament can also be located.
An advance season ticket for all four days of The Irish Open can be bought for €70, a saving and €10 on admission at the gate. Adult day tickets are priced at €30 pre-event, and €35 on the gate. Concessions are available at €50 for a season (€60 on the gate) and €20 for any one day (€25 on the gate).
Under-16s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge and all car parking is also free.Additionally, as part of the Irish Open ticket campaign, fans of golf and horse racing can enjoy both sports on the same day – Saturday, June 29 – by purchasing a specially priced ‘Irish Double’ ticket to enjoy the third round of the Irish Open and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day for a combined price of €50.
Corporate Hospitality packages are also available with prices ranging from €245 to €295 (plus VAT). For all enquiries please contact Joanne in CSL Hospitality on 01 676 6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org For further information please visit www.cslhospitality.ie
Full ticket information can be found at: www.europeantour.com/tickets or telephone Ticket Hotline: +440800 023 2557. Irish callers can phone: 1890 252 698. Postal enquiries should be sent to: European Tour Tickets, Mirren Court Three, 123 Renfrew Court Three, Paisley, PA3 4EA.