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NEWS & ANALYSIS


CompanyPROFILES Six golf specialists share their news and views for 2017


David McMahon MANAGING DIRECTOR, PREMIER IRISH GOLF TOURS


What do you do? We specialise in inbound and outbound golf travel packages to the best golf locations in the world.


What diff erentiates your company from your competitors? We off er a one-stop shop for all our golfers, organising flights, golf, transport, travel insurance, as well as access to one of our golf-travel executives throughout the trip.


Why should we take notice? All our team is made up of scratch- golfers who live and breathe golf. This is clearly evident to all our customers and evidenced by our five-star rating on TripAdvisor.


What is 2017 looking like for the golf industry as a whole? It’s set to be a great year for golf travel companies — our bookings are already up by 10% on this time last year.


What will you be doing in 2017? We will be striving to improve our existing off ering by introducing more brand new and exciting packages, such as our Golf & Whiskey tour to Scotland.


What makes Ireland such a great golf destination? Ireland currently has the number one ranked golf course in the world in Royal County Down, while Royal Portrush is set to be the Open Championship venue in 2019. Then you have Portmarnock, Lahinch, Ballybunion, Tralee and Waterville, to name a few of our great golf links.


What is your top golf course? Lahinch Golf Club is my favourite links course — a serious test of golf off the championship tees. Lahinch also represents fantastic value to our visiting golfers and always gives you a very friendly welcome.


What do you need to create the perfect golfing holiday? Booking with a really good travel company is a must as they will take care of all the logistics and will make sure that you get to stay and play the best courses and hotels suited to your budget.


What is your favourite golfing memory? Winning my first senior scratch cup title as it had been a long time coming. Another highlight was teeing up in my first South of Ireland Championship in Lahinch.


Where in the world do you want to play next? Next up for me is golfing in Australia. I’ve set my sights on playing Royal


Melbourne this winter and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.


premieririshgolſt ours.com


Russell Gray MANAGING DIRECTOR, MUIRFIELD TRAVEL


What do you do? Muirfield Travel delivers golf holidays to Scotland’s Golf Coast and beyond. Our team have the local knowledge to put every element of a golf trip together, from booking accommodation, tee times and dinner reservations to off ering a meet-and-greet airport service.


Why should we take notice? We are the only IAGTO ground- handler based in North Berwick, with 22 courses located within a 20-minute radius. Muirfield Travel has some famous clients, such as PGA Tour players and Brandt Snedeker and Harris English. If we can keep these guys coming back every year to arrange their Open Championship accommodation and transfers, then we must be doing something right.


What makes you diff erent? We always put our customers first. Aſt er all, plans change when people are in transit. Whether it’s a group wanting to stop at a distillery on the way back from the golf course or to play an extra nine holes, our staff will always be flexible and go the extra mile.


What will 2017 look like for the golf industry as a whole? Hopefully more people taking up the game, travelling and lots more choice for golfers. With social media growth, better flight connections and strategic marketing from tourist boards, we are optimistic about the future. The growth in the women’s game is exciting, and we can’t wait for Scotland to host the Solheim Cup in 2019 at Gleneagles.


What will you be doing in 2017? We’ll be working with new hotels and courses in Scotland and other destinations such as England’s North-West Coast, which will host the Open at Royal Birkdale. We are also in the process of updating our fleet of executive Mercedes vehicles.


What makes Scotland such a great golf destination? More than 600 courses with world- famous links courses, Highlands gems and city parkland layouts — all readily accessible.


What is your top golf course? The West Links at North Berwick.


What is your favourite golfing memory? Watching my son playing North Berwick for the first time. He shot a seven on the first, which was pretty good for a nine-year-old.


Where in the world do you want to play next? I’d love to travel to Australia and play the Sandbelt courses such as Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath. muirfieldtravel.com


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