The Worcester State University Golf team was invited to participate in the inaugural invitational tournament, the Tip O'Neill Donegal Diaspora Perpetual Golf Challenge, at Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal, Republic of Ireland. This course is about an hour north of Worcester State's exchange partner, Letterkenny Institute of Technology. The Ballyliffin Golf Course in County Donegal is composed of two Championship Links Golf Courses, Glashedy Links and Old Links.
The event was held on the Glashedy Links Course which has been a European Tour Venue and will serve as the host venue of the Irish Open 2018.
This tournament is affiliated with a long-standing annual event honoring the former U.S. Speaker of the House and Massachusetts congressmen, Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill. The date of the tournament was October 21, 2017 and the Worcester State University golf team was invited to send a foursome and coach to this event abroad.
The foursome departed from Massachusetts on Thursday evening, October 19th and arrived in Dublin early Friday morning, October 20th. They had a two-hour drive from Dublin to the site of the tournament in Donegal. During the day, participants were able to take in the sites in Letterkenny and see much of the countryside in Northern Ireland. In the evening, all participants were asked to attend a Gala with County Donegal and the O'Neill award hosts in the evening. This event recognized four individuals who are the recipients of the Tip O'Neill Irish Diaspora Award for 2017. This event recognizes the achievements of the Irish Diaspora in their chosen fields and celebrates the global impact of the Irish people everywhere and their maintenance of links with Ireland. In addition to recognizing these individual achievements, this is intended to draw focus to tourism in Norther Ireland. This is an important initiative to provide a tourism boost to the region which would help the local economy as its estimated that each visitor to the region spends ~£1,700 ($2200) per trip.
On Saturday the 21st, the foursome participated in a day of competition against teams from St Peters (New York), Letterkeny Institute of Technology and Magee University from Northern Ireland. An official dinner and prize giving ceremony open to all participants and teams followed the event to conclude the day.
On the day of October 22nd, the Worcester State golf team departed Donegal for Dublin, where they were able to enjoy some sightseeing and touring throughout the city. Monday festivities consisted of a second round of golf in Dublin, a tour of the city which included many of the sites Dublin has to offer via a sightseeing bus with an Irish cultural activity in the evening after a traditional Irish dinner at the Arlington Hotel. The trip concluded when the team departed back to Massachusetts on Tuesday, October 24th and is certainly an experience the players will never forget.
Release written by Courtney Salisbury | Sports Information Graduate Assistant