Graeme McDowell at 2014 Irish Open - 14th green
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Graeme McDowell at 2014 Irish Open - 14th green
Graeme McDowell chips onto the 14th green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Images
Paul Casey - Fota Island Resort - Deerpark golf course - 15th
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Paul Casey - Fota Island Resort - Deerpark golf course - 15th
Paul Casey smashes a drive off the 15th tee at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Michael Hoey - Fota Island Resort - Deerpark golf course - 16th
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Michael Hoey - Fota Island Resort - Deerpark golf course - 16th
Northern Irishman Michael Hoey reacts to draining a putt on the 16th green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Michael Hoey and Alvaro Quiros - 2014 Irish Open - Fota Island Resort
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Michael Hoey and Alvaro Quiros - 2014 Irish Open - Fota Island Resort
Michael Hoey and Alvaro Quiros take a snack break on the 17th tee of Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Johan Carllson at the 2014 Irish Open
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Johan Carllson at the 2014 Irish Open
Swede Johan Carllson putts on the 18th green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Thomas Levet at the 2014 Irish Open
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Thomas Levet at the 2014 Irish Open
Thomas Levet takes aim at a birdie on the 18th green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Shane Lowry at the 2014 Irish Open
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Shane Lowry at the 2014 Irish Open
Irishman Shane Lowry, one of the crowd favorites, tees off on the first hole at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Romain Wattel at the 2014 Irish Open
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Romain Wattel at the 2014 Irish Open
The divot of Romain Wattel flies high on his approach shot to the ninth green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Edoardo Molinari at the 2014 Irish Open
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Edoardo Molinari at the 2014 Irish Open
Italy's Edoardo Molinari putts on the ninth green at Fota Island Resort during the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Irish Open party at Fota Island Resort
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Irish Open party at Fota Island Resort
Golf fans relax at an outdoor beer garden during the 2014 Irish Open at the Fota Island Resort in County Cork. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Fota Island Resort Deerpark golf course - 10th
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Fota Island Resort Deerpark golf course - 10th
Crowds line the 10th fairway at Fota Island Resort for the 2014 Irish Open. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor

Closer look: Course shines for 2014 Irish Open at Fota Island Resort in County Cork, Ireland

FOTA ISLAND, Ireland -- The 27-hole Fota Island Resort is no stranger to the Irish Open, but much has changed since the event visited in 2001 and 2002.

The 7,043-yard, par-71 Deerpark Course, designed by Jeff Howes on the outskirts of Cork, plays much longer thanks to the addition of new tees on all the par 5s and another one in a scenic spot along the water of the sixth hole, creating a dramatic blind drive on a short par 4.

The 131-room hotel and its 90 lodges were built within the last eight years, giving the players a comfortable place to stay for the week. Even though the European Tour has struggled to find a permanent corporate sponsor, the tournament field doesn't look like a second-tier event. The local talent -- Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Michael Hoey and Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry -- continues to support the tournament and help draw bigger crowds.

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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Jason Scott Deegan has had some great memories playing golf in Ireland. He's been there seven times and can't wait to go back. Maybe some of his favorite photos over the years will convince you to jump on the next overnight flight to Dublin or Shannon. After all, a golf trip to the Emerald Isle never disappoints.
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Closer look: Course shines for 2014 Irish Open at Fota Island Resort in County Cork, Ireland
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