Q&A: All you need to know about golf membership and green fees

There are plenty of membership deals available while entrance fees are rare

Blainroe Golf Club has one of the best junior sections around.

Blainroe Golf Club has one of the best junior sections around.

 

I want to join a golf club, what is the best way to start?

Shop around. There are plenty of options when it comes to golf clubs in Ireland with absolutely no shortage. If it’s value you’re looking for, in more rural areas of the country you can get a year’s fee for as little as around €300. Closer to Dublin is, as expected, it’s more expensive but if you go slightly outside towards the commuter towns there are still numerous options for around the €1,000 mark including Black Bush and Beech Park to name just two. Donabate have a special offer of introductory 7-day membership for only €850 for 15 months golf to Dec 2020. If you’re looking for good links value you can’t go wrong with Corballis where full yearly membership is priced at €699 for a very enjoyable course with some of the best greens you’ll find anywhere. If you’re joining at this time of the year most courses will offer a special rate to cover the rest of 2019 and 2020 while most clubs nowadays also have an under-30s rate or under-35s in some cases.

Will I have to pay an entrance fee?

In the main, entrance fees went out the same door as the Celtic Tiger but some clubs did hang on to them and others are beginning to reintroduce them. Mount Juliet, Carton House and The Heritage are three clubs which no longer charge a fee just to get in while clubs such as Fota Island and Druids Glen have dropped their entrance fees considerably.

How do I get a GUI handicap?

Once you join a club you’ll be required to play three rounds, usually with a member, and fill in a card for each round. The member will have to sign all three cards and you then submit them to the handicap committee where they will take the average score from the three cards and assign you a GUI number and official handicap.

What if I just want to play casually each week? What’s the best way to do so and when is best?

As outlined in this week’s Pay-for-Play websites like GolfNow have made casual golf more accessible than ever and it’s very possible to play quality courses every week of the year with the end receipt adding up to quite a lot less than the membership fee. Midweek and early morning or late afternoon are generally the cheapest times for green fees while most courses offer cheaper rates through the winter, usually from the middle of October onwards. At the majority of clubs weekend time will be taken up by members but it’s worth considering courses with 27 holes – Corrstown, Black Bush and Donabate are just three examples – because there will usually be a nine free for casual golf even during members’ time.

What are the best options for juniors?

Most clubs have a junior section with some excellent rates and more and more places seem to be bringing in new initiatives for juniors now and moving away from the days when there was little or no course-time allocated to juveniles. Blainroe Golf Club has recently increased its junior section from around 60 to over 200 and juniors are given priority playing rights ahead of adults in Tuesday and Thursday morning competitions during the summer. Powerscourt have recently set up a cadet system which incorporates children under the age of 11 (when they can become full junior members) to come in for eight weeks during the summer to begin playing and getting lessons. Most clubs will offer group lessons during the summer while junior inter-club competitions such as the Fred Daly and the Ward League are very well run and contested.

– This article is part of a series of consumer-based sports stories. If you have any queries, stories or issues regarding travel, tickets, sport on television or anything else you can email rcroke@irishtimes.com or via Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

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