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Nick Dougherty on the joys of Northern Ireland golf and The 148th Open in 2019

Sky Sports | Updated: 2018-08-30 00:00:19

The challenges of the layout combined with the spectacular surroundings make Royal County Down well worth a visit, and it's easy to get to being just 30 miles south of Belfast.

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But the course that will be the focus of the golfing world in July next year is Royal Portrush, which was established just a year earlier than Royal County Down in 1888.

The 148th Open returns to Northern Ireland and Portrush, Co. Antrim, for the first time since 1951, next year.

Royal Portrush, ranked No 7 in the world by Golf Digest, is steeped in history and has close links with Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, who will be hoping to give the welcoming locals plenty to cheer about as they bid to add to their major collections next July.

Both courses proved huge successes with players and fans when they staged the Irish Open, with Jamie Donaldson winning at Portrush in 2012 while popular Dane Soren Kjeldsen claimed victory after a thrilling play-off at Royal County Down three years later.

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These famous venues are just two of many exciting and memorable courses across the country, including Portstewart and Castlerock, both just down the road from Royal Portrush, the superb Nick Faldo design at Lough Erne, and Royal Belfast along with Malone Golf Club both rank as one of the best park courses in the region.

And, as Nick points out, wherever you go in Northern Ireland you are guaranteed a warm golfing welcome wherever you go - check out Nick Dougherty's verdict in the video above.

Experience golf in Ireland for yourself. Check out all the special offers available through Golf Ireland's partners Your Golf Travel and Golfbreaks.com and let them take care of your arrangements - allowing you to focus on having your perfect Island of Ireland holiday.

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