Pot of gold: British Open returning to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland

PORTRUSH, CO. ANTRIM, Northern Ireland -- The announcement that the British Open will return to Northern Ireland was an exciting moment for golf fans throughout the Emerald Isle.

Although a date wasn't announced, Royal Portrush Golf Club will return to the Open rota for the first time since 1951, when Englishman Max Faulkner secured a two-shot victory over Argentina's Antonio Cerda. It was the only time the tournament was held outside of England and Scotland.

"It is craic-ing good news," said Michael Rosney, who runs the Killeen House Hotel on the outskirts of Killarney in southwest Ireland.

Based on independent research, the Open Championship is likely to deliver a combined economic impact and destination marketing benefit of £70 million for Northern Ireland. That impact will likely spread as far south as Waterville Golf Links , where Secretary Manager Noel Cronin said the television coverage will benefit all of Ireland.

"The announcement is a big plus for the North and the South," Cronin said. "It brings the golf fraternity together from around the world. A lot of golfers will drift south. It will be a wonderful boost to attract golfers for the future."

Video: Golfing World on Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland

The Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush , which staged a successful Irish Open in 2012 that set a European Tour record for attendance, is hosting the Amateur Championship this week.

The R&A reportedly wants two new holes built by Martin Hawtree to replace nos. 17 and 18, which will be used as space for corporation hospitality. Some club members would rather see the original routing stay intact. That resolution will determine when the tournament is held, although 2019 is the most likely outcome.

Regardless of the date, this is the moment Northern Ireland has been dreaming of for many years. The success and support of Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell -- all major champions who grew up playing Royal Portrush -- helped it become a reality.

"The Open's arrival on the north coast will tell the world what we already know -- that not only is Northern Ireland home to three major winning golfers, it is home to some of the best courses on the planet," Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said. "We will pull out all the stops to ensure that -- just as we did with the Irish Open -- Northern Ireland will stage a world-class event that will be long remembered by players and spectators alike.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Céad Míle Fáilte" -- a hundred thousand welcomes -- is the Gaelic greeting that visiting golfers warmly receive when they set foot on Ireland's auld sod. For a distinctive, weeklong, links vacation that you would welcome, I recommend you tee it up on the auld sod that lies along the northernmost coast of the Republic of Ireland, and then follow that coast into Northern Ireland.
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Pot of gold: British Open returning to Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland
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