The Ace of Clubs

Kevin Markham

Carne Golf Links

Kevin Markham

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At a time when golf clubs are trying to attract members and increase their income, it is always interesting to see a club doing something a bit different.

I like the reciprocal playing rights that are on offer these days. If you’re a member at Club A then you have access to play Club B, C and D… either for free or at a low ‘guest’ rate. They may not be geographically close (that would be daft) but it is still a huge enticement to keep your clubs in the boot.

Killeen Castle introduced a 9-hole membership package a couple of years back that proved very attractive to locals… some of whom subsequently signed up for full membership.

There’s also a more direct route to attracting income and if you bring in plenty of sponsors – often members of your own club – then you can make one hell of a splash.

Look at Carne, in Belmullet. They are currently celebrating their 25th anniversary with a Super Draw that will raise funds to enhance the golf club. With the third nine still being improved to bring it up to the standard of the Hackett 18 – it got badly stung by the drought in the summer of 2018 – and potentially intertwined with Hackett’s back nine to create the most dramatic 18 holes of links golf on the planet (I jest not), that money will be well spent.

Tickets cost €50 each and the draw takes place on April 20th.

Prizes include a 2020 Ford Focus (or €20,000), Life membership at Carne, a weekend for two at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, an iPad, and afternoon tea for two at Ashford Castle. (Contact 097 82292 to purchase your ticket.)

The club is not the first to try this approach and it won’t be the last. The challenge is to get those big ticket prizes that will attract people from across the golfing country. My guess is that a 2020 Ford Focus (or €20,000) will have the right effect.

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