Thursday, January 19, 2012

Open Fairways Ireland for just €25

I remember Open Fairways as far back as 1998. It was an annual book packed with dozens of golf courses offering '4 for 2' and '2 for 1' green fees. It was superb value and you could make the money back on the cost of buying the book in a single round of golf, as I did at Powerscourt in 1999 - although one of my mates didn't enjoy it quite so much when he was hit by a golf ball.

[Photo: The par three 16th at Powerscourt East]

The economy was already booming, so green fees were rising and the book was very popular. The quality of courses was pretty good too, although many of the really big boys weren't interested. But Open Fairways grew and grew: first it included hotels, before expanding to target the UK. Today it's a global affair, stretching as far as Vietnam and Australia, and 25 countries in all.

The LivingSocial website is offering the Irish version of the book for €25, reduced from €99. The offer is only valid until Saturday 21 January, so here's the link if you want to take a look. The offer is valid until Saturday night, January 21st - so only a couple of days left. If you want to check out the Open Fairways website, click here.

[Photo: The par four 2nd at Mount Wolseley]

Many of the big courses are now included (Rosses Point, Ballyliffin, K Club (Smurfit), Headfort, Lahinch, The Island...), although you might only get 4 for the price of 3, or 25% off, rather than 4 for 2.

The question is, nowadays, would you not be able to negotiate a better green fee simply by phoning up the club? Yes, possibly, but you might find you are heavily restricted on tee time availability (before 10am for example), and during the summer months your negotiation power will be reduced at places like Lahinch, The Island and most links tracks.

And remember this, with a lot of golfers giving up their annual memberships, people have saved themselves some cash which they may feel inclined to spend on bigger and better courses.

It costs a mere €25 - surely that's worth a lash.

[Photo: The Island's 1st hole, green to tee]

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