Operation K Club gets underway

UP to 20,000 spectators are expected today at the K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare to inspect the cream of European and US golfers in action during the first of three practice days in advance of the official start of the Ryder Cup on Friday.

A major security operation, which began on Sunday evening, will intensify from this morning due to the extra traffic generated around the venue.

The large number of visitors to the K Club will only be able to gain access to the event by using two specially designated park-and-ride facilities where a large fleet of shuttle buses will transfer ticket-holders to the venue.

They are located at Weston Aerodrome in Lucan, Co Dublin, which will cater for all motorists arriving from the north of the country and Palmerstown House, Johnstown, Co Kildare which will serve traffic coming from the south and west.

Although the shuttle service is free, tickets for the car parks cost €20 per day. While they can no longer be pre-booked on the internet, tickets will be available on the days of the competition at the park-and-ride sites.

Commuters can also travel by special train services running every 30 minutes from Connolly station to Leixlip /Louisa Bridge starting at 5.45am where they will be transferred by bus to the Weston Aerodrome park-and-ride site. Return rail services will operate until 9pm each day while there is also a drop-off facility for taxis and private cars at both car parks.

Ticket holders are required to carry proof of identity and will face security checks at park-and-ride sites as well as entering the K Club.

An elaborate safety and security plan has been drawn up by Ryder Cup organisers in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, local authorities, the National Roads Authority and the K Club which has resulted in a massive cordon with a two-kilometre perimeter being set up around the course.

Around 40,000 people are expected to visit the K Club during the three-day competition which officially begins on Friday.

A garda spokesperson said the elaborate operation was designed to minimise disruption to people living in neighbouring villages around the K Club including Straffan. All residents within the perimeter have been issued with special passes.

However, the following roads will remain closed to general traffic until midnight next Sunday:

Barberstown-Straffan. Ardrass Church-Straffan.

Bawnogues-Straffan.

Bawnogues-Ovidstown.

Longtown-Ovidstown.

Longtown Cross-Straffan.

Castledillon-Ballyhays.

Tipperstown/Ardclough-Clownings. Ponsonby Bridge-Straffan.

Turnings-Whitechurch Cross.

Turnings-Ladycastle Lower.

Ryder Cup organisers have also reminded ticket-holders that several common items are prohibited from being brought to the K Club including mobile phones, large bags, handheld computers, step ladders, push chairs, radios and signs or banners.

Visitors are also advised that they are not allowed to carry or consume alcohol while out on the course. Cameras and camcorders will only be allowed on the course on practice days.

Meanwhile, another large crowd is expected a few miles away at the Curragh racecourse which is today hosting a special Ryder Cup race meeting.

The attendance of the partners of the European and US players, otherwise known as the G-WAGS, will be one of the highlights of the day.

The meeting will also feature Europe’s richest race for two-year-olds with the Shelbourne Hotel Goffs Million offering a total prize fund of €800,000.

Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Ian Woosnam will have a particular interest in the outcome of the race as he is a member of the Ryder Cup Syndicate which owns one of the runners, Pelican Waters.

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