There is great value out there

There has rarely been a better time to get back out golfing, writes Philip Reid

The 16th hole at Tralee Golf Club.

The 16th hole at Tralee Golf Club.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 00:01

A few things we do know from those many clubs who responded to our now annual survey/questionnaire in The Irish Times to determine what life is like on the fairways of this island.

We know there is very good value out there, be it in taking the nomadic existence and going from club to club and playing your golf on a green fees basis, or, as clubs would undoubtedly prefer, adopting the more traditional method of actually joining a club and becoming part of it.

We know this because green fees have come down or remained static, as showcased in the question asking about how much it costs to put your hand in your pocket as a visitor. And we know this because, in the vast majority of cases, no entrance fees apply to joining clubs.

There are some clubs who, admittedly, have both high green fees and, in some cases, retain large entrance fees. A select few who remain by invitation only. We’ll give them the L’Oreal approach, because – they’ll tell us – “we’re worth it!” And they most probably are.

All, admittedly, is not entirely straightforward in ascertaining costs and fees in clubs.

Every golf club was contacted – by emails, telephone calls or both – to allow us to showcase what they had to offer in terms of membership deals, green fees, specials, etc. A number declined, as is their right; some simply got back too late, and some didn’t get back at all.

The evidence base, though, would suggest that there has rarely been a better time to get back out golfing.

There is, indeed, very good value, with clubs adopting innovative approaches to retaining members and in attracting new players to the sport. This is most keenly seen in the drive to attract young adults, men and women, and of introductory memberships.

The advent of the Confederation of Golf in Ireland is a necessary and a good thing.

Beyond providing a directory of clubs up and down and across Ireland, we’ve brought in other elements into the supplement. This is, after all, the year when an Irishman gets to captain a Ryder Cup team.

Equipment-wise nothing stands still. Ladies fashion trends are changing for the better. Shane Lowry tells how he was sent out to play his first round of golf wearing football boots.

Golf is like that, to be played home or away. Something for everybody.

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