Right here, right now*

Kevin Markham
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Right here, right now*

Rosslare Golf Links. Image by Kevin Markham

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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12 responses to “Right here, right now*”

  1. Gerry avatar

    Golf is a business. The ‘market’ will dictate. When members face the choice of pay more or sell tee times then we’ll see. We’re not there yet.

  2. Christy mcg avatar

    The trouble with all these hotel offers is that when you get there you have little or no interaction because of covid19 protocols so it doesn’t make for a great stay,,I agree with the comments that lots of courses are very expensive for the local golfers and are priced for tourists,the offers you have all must include a hotel stay and I think your missing the point that players just want to go play and go home it’s all very well saying it’s good value but in the present time of mass unemployment not a lot of players can go for stay n play,,dont forget when we do go to play we still make a big contribution to local ecomany,,petrol,drinks,tea coffees,sandwiches,,sweets,,so let’s see better offers for golf alone and hotels with better offers then b/b and one dinner,,happy golfing to all,,

  3. Tom avatar

    Ballyliffin for 50 euro? Having a laugh there Kevin. You need to be a member of a GUI Donegal golf club and best of luck getting onto the championship course.

  4. John avatar

    I’m not so sure I agree with all your comments.. I’m in the over 65 category and my wife and I travel extensively staying and playing. Just booked Ashford Castle offer where prices are slashed and golf is complimentary.. places like K Club are outdated and vastly overpriced in my opinion. Some offers need minimum 4 ball. According to most of my friends who are similar to me we think it not smart to be mixing too much given the current circumstances.. there’s an ever increasing number of people like me and clubs will need to do more to attract us over the coming years because the virus will not go away anytime soo.

  5. Martin avatar

    Powerscourt charging €90 green fee ?

  6. Vin Magill avatar

    Golf is in big trouble, it was in trouble before Covid. It is now a buyers market. Societies phone up and nearly dictate what they’re willing to pay. Courses in close proximity to each other are battling for the trade and slashing prices to encourage golfers to play their course. They hope the golfers will eat and drink whilst there. The next course down the road then has to offer the same cut price deal or lose out and thus income keeps falling. Membership is falling rapidly, too. The GUI has stated that the fall in numbers hasn’t bottomed out as yet. Some golf courses are rapidly reaching the tipping point where outgoings are no longer covered by income. We will see more and more clubs folding. That, to my mind, is a very sad fact.

  7. Aidan avatar

    We stayed a played a few rounds in Donegal last year 30 Euro portsalon & portnoo each Ballyliffin looked for 60 , these prices are ok .
    The Kerry courses are totally over priced for years to Irish people all yanks now the yank are not travelling should we support them . No unless they match the fine courses in other parts of the country .

  8. Petrea Cheevers avatar

    Played Ardee on Monday, neglected to ask green fees when booking. We were shocked when charged €30 each, far too expensive for a casual game of golf and the place was empty. Too greedy, wont be back.

  9. Denis avatar

    PGA Golf de Catalunia green fee for tomorrow @ 61 euros and it was vote the no. 1 golf resort in Spain
    Stadium course 82euros or 69 after lunch
    Tour course 61 or 59 after lunch
    Too many greedy course owners here

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