Boy, am I getting annoyed by the negative comments I’m reading about Irish green fees at the moment. There appears to be an assumption that the top golf clubs should slash their green fees in order to attract Irish golfers now that the international visitors are staying away. And if they don’t, some golfers are making Victor Meldrew look like the happiest man alive.
Can we please be serious here! How do you think car sales are going at the moment? Not good, right! I don’t see Mercedes or BMW slashing their prices to sell more cars. OK, probably not a good example. Then what about hotels and restaurants? Lest we forget, hotels and restaurants don’t have the luxury of a membership base paying annual subs but they are desperate to see customers return. Even so, I haven’t seen any hotels slashing their rates by 60-70 per cent which is what some golfers seem to think Ballybunion, Doonbeg, Portmarnock, etc., should be doing.
I posted a Tweet promoting some green fee rates at The European Club, which started at €75 (Open fourballs on Monday, Friday and Sunday) and a general rate of €100 for Irish golfers. The replies were mostly positive but a couple of people had a dig saying the rates were too high.
I followed this with a later tweet promoting a Fairways & FunDays offer for Irish golfers – three nights B&B at a 4 star hotel, 1 dinner, some extras and three rounds at Ballybunion (Old), Tralee and Waterville – starting at €645.
I got more replies, including:
“Terrible value Kevin. Kerry links have never provided value for money. Even during a pandemic they can’t help themselves. They need to look at the value offered in the west and northwest.”
The negative ones were more than balanced by positive responses. After all, these three courses each ask €250 per round at peak rate so you can see how much of a discount is involved.
“Fantastic value for brilliant golf and accommodation. You pay for what you want and get. In Spain and Portugal mediocre courses are €100-€200 for golf only. For Top 100 golf courses it’s a great opportunity for golf fans to avail of this season.”
It also brought out a slew of replies listing other special deals that Irish tour operators are offering home golfers, as well as open weeks and events at many of the big courses.
And there are lots of them.
It is all very well to moan that green fees are still too high and that, “I won’t pay over €50 for a green fee” but you can’t expect the best golf courses in the world to slash their rates just to appease you. So get off your backside because there are plenty of deals if you do some digging, ask around and pay attention.
There’s a full Stay & Play spread in the Irish Golfer Magazine this month but new offers are appearing all the time. Here are just four… and it goes without saying that T&Cs apply.
Fairways & Fundays is offering ‘The Wild Atlantic Way Tour’. It’s a three night B&B break at the four star Castlecourt Hotel, in Westport, including dinner one evening and a couple of extras. The three rounds of golf are at Carne, Connemara and Westport. Prices start at €395pp. (fairwaysandfundays.com)
SWING have lots of offers but if you want to go for the upper end of the market you can stay in the magnificent 5 star Castlemartyr for three nights on a B&B basis, with golf at Old Head, Cork and Castlemartyr. Prices from €670pp. (swinggolfireland.com)
Club Choice Ireland have the Champions Tour Package playing The European Club, Mount Juliet and Rosslare, with two nights’ B&B, one dinner and accommodation at Clayton Whites Hotel (Wexford) from €325pps. (clubchoiceireland.com)
Co Sligo, Enniscrone and Strandhill golf clubs have a promo to play the three courses for just €180. www.countysligogolfclub.ie
The final peach, if it isn’t sold out, is a £148 fee to play Royal Portrush in a fourball better ball competition. There are five Tuesday dates between 28 July and 29 September and you will receive a breakfast bap/soup and sandwiches on arrival, a goodie bag, a hot dog halfway round and prizes for the top three teams on the day. Oh, and pins will be in the same spots as the Sunday when Lowry won.
Look, you can play Ballyliffin for €50, K Club for €75, Mount Juliet for €50… the list goes on so don’t tell me there isn’t amazing value out there at the moment. There’s loads of it.
And apologies to all the other clubs offering deals to GUI and ILGU members (and non-members) not included in this piece. I’m trying to make the point that there is a vast amount of value in Irish golf right now. Get on social media and spread the word.
* Right Here, Right Now, by Fatboy Slim was released in April 1999. That’s your earworm for the day!
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