GolfChannel.com editorial director Jay Coffin and senior writer Rex Hoggard are stopping off in Northern Ireland on their way to Royal St. George’s to visit Holywood, home to some 13,000 residents including the newest member of the game’s grand slam club, Rory McIlroy, as well as the “north’s” finest linksland.
Among the itinerary highlights of the trip will be stops at storied Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, McIlroy’s home club in Holywood and probably a pub or five.
Follow their adventures through blogs and photos:
HOLYWOOD FUN: July 11, 2011, 11:02 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: If you find yourself in Northern Ireland, be sure to play Holywood Golf Club - but not because it's where Rory McIlroy grew up but because it's a fun 18 holes. ... MORE
GREAT DEBATE: July 11, 7:57 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Royal County Down and Royal Portrush are both awesome venues, but which is better? ... MORE
GOLF'S FORGOTTEN GEM: July 11, 2011, 10:02 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Surprisingly, Northern Ireland is often a forgotten when it comes to discussions about great, old-country links golf, and that’s too bad. ... MORE
CHECK YOUR EGO: July 11, 2011, 2:40 p.m. IST, Craigavad, Northern Ireland: They told us the tips at Royal Belfast played a 'wee' 6,300 yards. Well, there is nothing 'wee' about Royal Belfast. ... MORE
ROYAL PORTRUSH BELONGS IN ROTA: July 10, 2011, 8:51 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: It's been a very long time since the Open Championship was played at Royal Portrush. Too long in fact ... not since 1951. ... MORE
A STALLED CELEBRATION: July 10, 2011, 8:20 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Graeme McDowell was about to set off another wild celebration at Royal Portrush, but. ... MORE
AN ADVENTUROUS DRIVE TO ROYAL PORTRUSH: July 10, 2011, 1:32 p.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Like every other adventure in Northern Ireland so far, driving the streets is an experience unique unto itself. ... MORE
A VISIT TO THE CROWN BAR: July 10, 2011, 12:30 a.m. IST, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Have been told that the Crown Bar, tucked into the 'City Center' adjacent the storied Europa Hotel, is the most beautiful bar in the world.
Can't say 'GTC' is an expert on such things, but it was certainly not the cleanest bathroom we've ever been in.
THE CUPCAKES TELL THE STORY: July 9, 2011, 9:40 p.m. IST, Holywood, Northern Ireland: The quiet suburb of Belfast has been anything but since Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open. Special cupcakes at a local bakery adorned with the young champion's likeness tell the tale ... MORE
AND THE ODDS ARE ... : July 9, 2011, 4:26 p.m. IST, Holywood, Northern Ireland: Odds for Rory McIlroy to win next week at Royal St. George's are 6-to-1. When in Rome ... er, Holywood ...
McILROY ON THE MOVE:
July 9, 2011, 1:48 p.m. IST, Holywood, Northern Ireland: After a 'pretty quiet' few weeks since his dominating U.S. Open win at Congressional, Rory McIlroy is back out, preparing for next week's Open Championship. And, by all accounts, his game is as sharp as ever. ... MORE
FAME IN HOLYWOOD: July 9, 2011, 1:34 p.m. IST, Holywood, Northern Ireland: To say Holywood Golf Club wasn't prepared for the rash of interest following Rory McIlroy's U.S. Open victory would be a gross understatement. ... MORE
EIGHTEEN DOWN AT ROYAL COUNTY DOWN: July 8, 2011, 12:15 a.m. IST, Newcastle, Northern Ireland: Beat to the punch by Graeme McDowell a few weeks earlier, we completed the first 18 holes of our trip on a fast and firm layout, despite a particularly wet summer in the area. ... MORE
DRIVING INSTRUCTIONS: July 8, 2011, 10:01 p.m. IST, Newcastle, Northern Ireland: Sign on sixth hole at Royal County Down. Thought about taking this home and putting it on my wife's dashboard. – (Coffin)
GREETED LIKE ROYALTY: July 8, 2011, 2:12 p.m. IST, Newcastle, Northern Ireland: We finally arrived at Royal County Down and despite our haggard appearance, we were treated with Irish hospitality. ... MORE
ICE BREAKER: July 8, 2011, 11:41 a.m. IST, Dublin: After delays and in a rush to make a tee time at Royal County Down, we experienced a moment of levity by poking fun at Bubba Watson. ... MORE
ROUGH START: July 7, 2011, 6:15 p.m. ET, Philadelphia: Philadelphia is a fine enough city, but not where we want to be at the moment as our trip to Northern Ireland took an unexpected detour. ... MORE