The 148th Open makes a historic return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years this summer when the world’s top golfers including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnston and Ulster University honorary graduates Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell will compete for the Claret Jug from 14-21 July at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Championship organisers, The R&A have chosen Ulster University to host The Open Camping Village, offering spectators facilities including pre-erected tents and a campers’ Clubhouse.
During the championship the Coleraine campus will entertain campers and the local community with a packed schedule of live music, entertainment, family fun, food and more. The Riverside Theatre is running a 19th Hole Festival from 17 – 19 July with daily barbeques, a fully licensed bar along with free family entertainment from 6-11pm.
Welcoming the partnership with The R&A, Professor Karise Hutchinson Provost of the Coleraine Campus commented;
“Ulster University’s position as a civic hub for the local community and a sports destination of choice for international guests is further cemented by our partnership with The R&A and our plans to host The Open Camping Village. Our staff and students have been working tirelessly for months to tee up the campus and we are really looking forward to welcoming local, national and international visitors to experience first-hand our world class facilities and our legendary welcome during the largest sporting event that Northern Ireland has ever witnessed.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A said,
“The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and one of our key priorities is to do as much as we can to encourage children and young people to attend the Championship. The Open Camping Village is a major part of that effort and provides free accommodation for Kids go Free and Youth ticketholders. Through our partnership with Ulster University we will be able to offer an excellent site close to Royal Portrush and ensure all of the fans enjoy a fantastic experience in the Spectator Village and at the Championship itself.”
In addition to The Open Camping Village partnership and park & ride provision on campus, Ulster University has been working with The R&A on a number of Golf development projects for young people in Northern Ireland including a programme of local club and schools golf programmes in partnership with the Golfing Union of Ireland and a MasterCard Girls 4 Tech programme.
Over 100 Ulster University students have secured work and volunteering opportunities as part of the link with The R&A, including Marshalling the 18th hole stands.
Dr Nigel Dobson, Head of Sports Services at Ulster University commented;
“The Open is set to attract over 200,000 spectators and will be broadcast live in 150 countries, the opportunity for golf in Northern Ireland is unparalleled and we’ve partnered with The R&A on a number of golf-related sports programmes to secure a lasting golf legacy for young people. Building on the legacy of recent graduates, we’re searching for the next Rory McIlroy, offering young people the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge needed to become a professional golfer and enjoy a an exciting career.”