Friday, June 5, 2009

Macreddin, Receivership & Green Fees

About this time last year, as I was preparing the introductory chapters to the book, I started fretting about green fees. As soon as you put something in print, it is out of date. Green fees, I thought, will have gone up by the time my book is published.

[Photo: 4th at Old Head]

And yet they have gone the other way. This time last year you were paying €290 at Old Head of Kinsale. Now you can get it for €60. (True, there have to be 16 of you, all paying €60 to enjoy the price, but you see the seismic shift). Quite frankly, if you can get 16 people together, €60 is an absolute steal for one of the most dramatic golf courses in the world.

Not all clubs have reduced their green fees, but you are most certainly in a stronger bargaining position than ever. There are few clubs that would turn you away midweek if you turned up as a three- or fourball and made a reasonable offer. With the current offers you’ll find on the back of newspapers, in golf magazines and posted on your club’s noticeboard, you’ll find you can play some ‘big’ courses for a lot less money.

Now then, onto a different but related matter: clubs going into receivership. I am thoroughly disappointed to see that Macreddin is the latest club to join a worrying list of golf clubs teetering on the brink of disaster. First Blarney, then Tulfarris and now Macreddin. Each is an excellent course, but running something as smart as this is a pricey business.

Tulfarris sits in a beautiful location on the lakes in County Wicklow, and it would be a crying shame to see it go. Blarney is an odd beast but is wonderful and challenging in its own way. Macreddin tops the list and has some breathtaking holes. I know little about the finances that control how a course operates, but I understand that because the banks need loans repaid, Macreddin may not be around next year.

[Photo: 12th at Macreddin]
I have only one thing to say on the matter: I truly hope it survives, but you better get down to Macreddin and play it – just in case. The 4th, the 12th, the 13th and 16th are brilliant holes. The whole course works wonderfully and Paul McGinley did a great design in a very pretty valley. If you do decide to go – and green fees are probably even less than the bargain €50 they were charging a few months back – be warned that the back 9 is hilly. Most people have said to me that you need a buggy, but, personally, I think that’s only because they got lost on the way to the 10th tee.


  1. having played macredin 3 times over the last couple of weeks i have to say that this is one of the best designed courses i have ever played, it is an absolute treat, at only €40 a round it is a must play for any golfer out there.
    it would be a disaster if it does not survive, get out there and play.
    john doody

    1. Not only has Macreddin survived it is now flourishing under new management. I wonder when the pundits will blush and wonder why it has not been included in their lists of best parkland courses in Ireland/Europe - perhaps they are more interested in clubhouses than courses? Facilities are being enhanced - but golf wise first, with a driving range and one of the best short game practice facilities in Ireland. One hopes that when the clubhouse is added it does not become overly exclusive