Decades of waiting, years of planning and it’s finally here.
The Open is golf’s biggest tournament. It started this morning with Darren Clarke hitting the first tee shot at 6:30am and making birdie, and another local hero Rory Mcilroy not fairing so well !
The North’s economy is set for a windfall of £80million in the Open week alone. Royal Portrush is likely to host the Open a further three times over the next three decades. The benefits are endless.
How did it get there ?
Planning is key.
Royal Portrush set out a vision over a decade ago to host the Open;
- A specific ‘Open’ tournament committee was established in 2007-08;
- In 2013, Royal Portrush hosted the Irish Open and in 2014 it hosted the British Amateur Open as ‘trial runs’ for the Open;
- One of the biggest challenges was in fact changing the course to host the Open, a potentially tricky proposition to get through members. In 2014, proposals were drawn up, visuals presented to members, an EGM was held and the course changes were ratified by some 400 members.
- By 2014 the prospect of The Open coming to Royal Portrush became real.
Put simply, Royal Portrush produced a strategy and structures that proved to the R&A it was capable of achieving its goal – the Open. This starts with a sound Constitution, committee structures, club rules – a clear vision and member ‘buy-in’.
There comes a stage in every club or organisation where it has to implement real change to thrive and reach for the stars. Portrush is a great example of how to do this successfully.
Its presence at Royal Portrush is the culmination of more than 10 years of work for the club. A tournament committee was formed in 2007-08, though the Open was always the “big aspiration”, says David McMullan, who is now deputy chairman of the club’s championship committee.