Club’s efforts are recognised as they pick up special awards

The stunning setting of Castlerock Golf Club.

The stunning setting of Castlerock Golf Club.

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Castlerock Golf Club has long been regarded as one of the province’s best courses to playa round it.

Situated on the Atlantic coast Castlerock Golf Club, is a classic links course set amid towering dunes.

The Manager of the Year award is presented by IGTOA Vice Chairman David Hudson, to Bert MacKay of Castlerock Golf Club.

The Manager of the Year award is presented by IGTOA Vice Chairman David Hudson, to Bert MacKay of Castlerock Golf Club.

Founded in April 1901, the original course comprised nine holes and was laid out on the western part of the present course. Additional land was leased in 1908 and Ben Sayers, the professional from North Berwick in Scotland, was commissioned to design an eighteen hole layout. Though better known as a club maker, Sayers produced a superb layout and insisted that the links of Castlerock would equal those at Troon, North Berwick and Sandwich.

Today, Castlerock is rated as one of Ireland’s finest links courses and its status in the game is reflected by the fact that it has hosted many National Championships both Amateur and Professional.

The club’s website states ‘it is the underlying pursuit of excellence that keeps this place a sacred retreat for the truly ardent follower of golf’. There has been no truer word spoke, and those that pursuit of excellent has not gone unrecognised.

Last week the club picked up the ‘Hidden Gem’ award at the prestigious Golfers Guide to Ireland Awards at the K Club.

“To receive any accolade is always welcome and reflects the work that we are doing here at the club but the fact it was a public vote really makes it special as it is our customers that have really awarded us this which to me shows we are doing something right, the next aim is to refine it and make it better,” Club General Manager Bert McKay told Times Sport.

“It is great and I am pleased for the staff and members. I only started with the club 18 months ago and we have made some tough decisions and made a few changes at the club so this shows the progression we have made and there is more to come.

“For the members, we have a very loyal and good bunch of members so to them these awards don’t come as a surprise as they have always believed we are a sleeping giant so to speak, it is just now nice that we are getting the recognition for our product.”

Bert’s efforts at the club have also been recognised with another award.

“We went on to win “Manager of the Year” through the IGTOA awards held at the Slive Donnard Hotel – This was voted for by all industry partners.

“The IGTO asked all of their Tour Operators / hotels / suppliers and industry partners to nominate candidates.

“I am not going to lie, when I received the call from Dennis the chairman it came as a real shock. As I mentioned I have only been here just a little over a year so to get something like this so early on in my career here at Castlerock is a real boost.

“It really does say a lot about the club and I can safely say on behalf of not only the membership but the staff that we are all exceptionally proud of what we have achieved.

“I do believe you are yet to see the best of Castlerock and for me that was the biggest attraction of coming to the club.

“We are situated on a stunning piece of land, have two great courses and have other great links courses so close by making it a true destination for visitors.”

Plans are now in place for the return of The Open to the north coast in just over three years time.

The anticipation of the event returning to the area after an absences of over 50 years is reaching fever point and the club know they have to harness this.

They have plans for the club both on and off the course and are determined to make the most of a truly sepcial occasion.

“The news of the Open coming to town so to speak is great news for the whole of the area not just Castlerock Golf Club,” said Bert.

There will be a high demand for accommodation / food and with that it will highlight some of our great tourist attractions we have here on the North Coast from the Giants Causeway to the Mussenden Temple and everything in between.

“As a club we are just pleased to be so close to the open and appreciate it will be a busy time for us and we will be doing a few different things in and around that time to ensure all visitors really experience a great Irish welcome,” he added.

There’s no doubt given their recent success they will make the most of it.