Thousands of people turned out at Adare Manor this Friday | PICTURE: Morgan Treacy / INPHO
AFTER months of poor weather, the day for the official launch of the golf course at Adare Manor in Limerick couldn't have been timed better.
Thousands turned out to get their first look at the brand new course at a charity match between four of the country's best golfers: Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley.
This afternoon’s match marked the launch of the next JP McManus Pro-Am, which is set to take place in July 2020.
Among the spectators in Adare this afternoon are former rugby stars Paul O'Connell and Keith Wood, Munster players Conor Murray, Rory Scannell and Gerbrandt Grobler.
The racing community is also well-represented, with former champion jockey AP McCoy and trainer and former jockey Robbie McNamara also turning out to see the golf in the sunshine.
Launching the major charity tournament, which has not taken place since 2010, Rory McIlroy and Paul McGinley are taking on Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry in a fourball competition today.
A €500,000 charity purse will be donated to causes chosen by the golfers by the day's end.
Around 2,000 spectators have taken to the fairways this afternoon to see the pros take on one of Europe's most high-tech courses.
World-renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio, who designed the new Adare Manor course, said that most golfers “will never have seen anything” like the new course.
“It looks and plays like no other course in Ireland. This will be a stand out course in Europe and, with the Adare Manor house and estate as its setting, will be one of the finest stay and play venues ever created – everyone is going to want to see this place,” he said.
Adare Manor and Golf Resort has undergone a makeover that reportedly cost in the hundreds of millions, and took nearly two years to carry out.
The McManus-owned hotel and grounds reopened in late 2017, with the golf course scheduled to open in April.
Following today's launch, the course is open for business - and is the most expensive round of golf in Ireland.