As the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open rolls into Lahinch next month, thousands of people from Ireland and beyond will descend on the picturesque town in County Clare.
Two weeks later, action moves five hours north to Portrush, where the 148th edition of the Open Championship, golf’s fourth major of the year, takes place, again highlighting the beauty and attraction of Ireland’s golf courses.
In fact, over 200,000 overseas visitors play golf during their visit to Ireland every year, contributing almost €270 million to the economy and driving over 1.7 million bed nights across the country.
As a result of this, a number of Irish golf tour operators have come to the fore in recent years, and with Ireland proving such an exceptional golf destination, as well as offering unrivalled attractions off the course, it is easy to see why.
One of the men at the centre of golf tourism in the country is Maurice O’Meara. After a brief stint in the commercial world with Kerry GAA, the Kerry native is back working with his beloved golf, leading Discover Ireland Golf Tours.
O’Meara is a former general manager at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club where he worked for nearly seven years, before leading the charge at Island Golf Club (2013-2015) and Dooks Golf Club in beautiful Glenbeigh from 2015 to present.
Speaking on the eve of the Irish Open, O’Meara said: “Its great to see the market buoyant again after some difficult years in the industry due to worldwide economic conditions. Demand is very high and we are already focussing on the 2020 season , with bookings and tours already in place up to October 2020.
“The next few weeks are huge for Irish golf with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open being at Lahinch and the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. The golf industry in Ireland will be in very strong position following these events.”
His love of the sport has been evident since first lifting a golf club at aged-12, and his latest venture has combined a passion for both golf and business. It was the next natural step for a man who has worked closely with both tour operators and visitors over the years in his respective roles.
Discover Ireland Golf Tours focuses on the attributes of welcoming and looking after visiting golfers to the island of Ireland, and facilitates them in finding and enjoying the best of courses that the country has to offer.
The company is mainly targeting North America, Canada, Scandinavia and the UK. Bespoke services include in-house PGA professionals available for escorted tours/tuition, and 24-hour concierge services during a golfer’s trip to Ireland.
“We are also running a number of unique events in the shoulder months which will be mainly focussed at the domestic market and will be hosted in our partner clubs here in the south west namely Killarney Golf & Fishing Club and Dooks Golf Links,” said O’Meara.
“We have strategically partnered with agents in the UAE and stateside in Tampa , New York, Ohio, Dallas and San Francisco, we will be working closely with these partners to provide tours and showcase the best that Ireland has to offer in all things golf.
“It is important for clubs to communicate fully and accurately with members, staff and all key stakeholders. Helping clubs manage their communication strategies and sales and marketing plans will be one of our specialties at Irish Golf Consultancy.”
Further details are available at www.discoverirelandgolftours.com.
MAURICE’S FIVE FAVOURITE COURSES
Waterville Golf Club
Dooks Golf Club
Killarney Golf & Fishing Club
Lahinch Golf Club
The Island Golf Club
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