Six months in the life of Rory McIlroy

If anyone wants evidence of the secret of Rory McIlroy's major success it is there in his back garden.

The 22-year-old has invested in a state-of-the-art mini golf course extension at his County Down home to boost his game.

Television viewers were able to catch a glimpse of the special training zone in a BBC One Northern Ireland documentary broadcast on Monday night.

It has four greens, US Open as well as links-style rough, and a replica of the infamous Road Hole Bunker at St Andrews golf course, but with Portrush sand.

A team of greenkeepers ensure it is kept in optimum condition.

It may have cost him hundreds of thousands of pounds, but McIlroy admits this unique golf range has given him an extra edge and shows his commitment to Northern Ireland as a base.

"To have a practice facility at the back of my own house is incredible, it was done as an investment in my future," he said.

"Since I got it built I have won my first major, so it has paid for itself already.

"It is a long-term commitment to Northern Ireland, I see myself always living here.

"It would be a shame to leave it, you couldn't do it anywhere else.

"The facility is every golfer's dream, Darren Clarke has said he would be up taking some money off me."

The year 2011 for McIlroy has been akin to the toughest of golf courses in its capacity to mix the rough with the smooth.

In the space of six months there was the tough decision to part from girlfriend Holly Sweeney, the resumption of that relationship, the dramatic collapse at the Masters and ultimately triumph at the US Open.

The BBC NI team of reporter Stephen Watson and camera operator Gary McCutcheon have been following him throughout that period.

Stephen said "any broadcaster in the world" would have wanted the access they got as the story unfolded.

"Rory has been an absolute pleasure to work with, we have got to know him really well," he said.

"I hope he will be proud of the programme as well, and he will be able to say to his family 'there is a complete record there of my first major'.

"You will never be able to repeat that again."

The documentary contained previously unseen archive footage of McIlroy as a child, the views of golfing greats such as Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, and a first broadcast interview with partner Holly Sweeney.

McIlroy also dissected where the Masters went wrong and there was extensive footage of his celebratory return back to Northern Ireland after his US Open win including an emotional reunion with his mother.

Top Stories