Competitors have been given added incentive to claim victory in this year’s 2014 Darren Clarke Golf Tour.
For a five-star golfing break to the Donnafugata Golf Resort & SPA in Sicily is on offer to the winner.
Clarke, who has won 22 tournaments worldwide including the 2011 Open Championship, opened a new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence at the deluxe resort this spring – the first facility of its kind in continental Europe.
The Darren Clarke Golf Tour, which takes place at clubs across Ireland and is organised by Darren Clarke Golf, is open to boys and girls under the age of 21, and not only will the 2014 champion win the coveted title but also a luxury four-night holiday to Donnafugata thanks to the new link-up between the two organisations.
Clarke said: “Donnafugata has some of the best facilities in Europe and, combined with the great climate that Sicily enjoys, is the ideal venue for players from all over Europe to learn from our expert team of coaches.
“I hope that my tour will help all junior golfers across Ireland realise their golfing potential and give them the opportunity to compete in a tour-like environment.
“Who knows, perhaps the next Irish major winner could have played their first competitive event on the Darren Clarke Golf Tour!”
The Darren Clarke Golf brand has gone from strength to strength since opening its first full-time school in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and has achieved great success developing players such as Allan Dunbar and Paul Cutler, who progressed onto the European Tour.
This year’s Darren Clarke Golf Tour, supported by TaylorMade, will see more than 100 youngsters compete at eight events in two regions – four in Northern Ireland and four in southern Ireland – for the chance to qualify for the grand final in September.
A host of well-known venues including Holywood – Open champion Rory McIlroy’s home club – Royal Belfast, Royal Curragh and Luttrellstown Castle are being used for qualifying with the top ten players with the three best qualifying scores from each region progressing to the final for the opportunity to win the holiday to Donnafugata.
Guy Roberts, director of golf at Donnafugata Golf Resort & SPA, said: “It was a great honour for the Resort when we opened the new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence and we’re delighted to have been given the chance to take the relationship a step further.
“Winning an event like this is a great achievement and we’re looking forward to welcoming the winners and offering them an experience they will never forget, with the opportunity to use some of the finest new golf facilities in Europe.”
As well as enjoying four nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation, the winner will also be treated to three rounds of golf each on a choice of Donnafugata’s two 18-hole championship courses, the Links and Parkland – host of the Sicilian Open in 2011.
Opened in 2010, the Resort has quickly established itself as one of the most talked-about luxury venues in Europe, with its new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence offering a variety of tuition packages and individual lessons for golfers of all abilities aged six and above.
Located just 15 minutes from Comiso airport and set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the Resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities nearby.
These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque; Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.
As well as its outstanding golf facilities, Donnafugata Golf Resort & SPA has 202 rooms, an award-winning 900mq spa and health club, two swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of ‘0km food’ locally-sourced gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.