After a captivating end to the Your Golf Travel Classic at Bovey Castle on Friday itâ€™s straight to Northern Ireland for the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour.
Galgorm Castle in Ballymena will play host to the Ulster Bank Open from Wednesday and ahead of the fourth event on the Tourâ€™s schedule we spoke to resident pro Phil Collins to get an â€˜Inside Trackâ€™ on the course.
â€œThe course is in great shape. Weâ€™ve had temperatures upwards of 20 degrees over the last few days, so the course is good. We have some very thick rough this year as well.”
â€œThis year we have a new tee box at the second, making the hole 20 yards longer. We have a new bunker on the tenth protecting the front side of the green. We also have a new tee box at the 13th, which is closer to the river and makes it 40 yards longer. We have lowered the bank at 13 too, that means the players will have a full view of the river when they hit their tee shot.â€
Who will it suit?
â€œSomebody who is very good with their mid to short irons will do well here.â€
â€œThe rough is very thick at the moment, so that could cause problems. If you keep the ball on the fairways youâ€™ll shoot a good score but if you hit it into the rough and you could be in trouble. We have had a very poor winter here and that has dictated that we have thick rough and we decided to leave it like that to make the course more challenging. It is only 6,900 yards and in this age most course are over 7,000 yards.â€
Looking for a birdie
â€œOn a calm day, and it is rare that you get a calm day at Galgorm, all the par fives would be profitable for the longer hitters. The second is a 320-yard par four. The seventh had a new tee box built before the event last year making the hole 152 yards over water. If you miss the green short the ball will roll back into the lake but itâ€™s a great opportunity for a birdie with a precise iron shot.â€
â€œThere is plenty of water involved so, as with all courses, if you donâ€™t hit the ball into the water over the three rounds you have a good chance of shooting a good score.â€
A field of 156 players will begin the 54-hole strokeplay event with a cut of the top 50 and ties being made after 36 holes. A live leaderboard will be available on this website along with regular updates which will also be posted on the Tourâ€™s official Twitter page, [url=www.twitter.com/pgaeuroprotour]@PGAEuroProTour[/url]
Entry and car parking is free to spectators and all those in attendance will receive a free programme and time sheet on arrival. As well as three days of exciting professional golf the course is also hosting at ‘Boys Toys’ tented village including attractions such as Lexus, Ecurie25 Supercars and Bushmills Distillery. For younger spectators Junior Golf Ireland will be on site to offer FREE golf lessons to children.