Monday, March 20, 2017

Arise Rathsallagh

The resurrection of Rathsallagh restored my faith in Irish golf last year. The work done to get it back to its best was and continues to be the big story for this Co. Wicklow golf course. It was always too good to disappear for long.

There have been numerous debates about how golf will evolve in this country and the closure of nearly 20 courses in the past decade is a sign of the times. If I’m honest, I’m both surprised and disappointed that it isn’t more. For golf to thrive we need a strong membership base… not one that sees golfers switch from one club to the next, following the best low price deals. 
The 18th green and clubhouse.

It just means that a majority of our clubs are left in limbo, never quite sure what’s coming next, and struggling to make ends meet. Remove another 30 golf clubs from the 400+ stock we currently have and those remaining courses have a much better chance of survival.

Anyway, I digress. This month’s Course Feature in Irish Golfer Magazine is on Rathsallagh. Here’s the link (or pick up a copy in a golf club or newsagent near you). It doesn’t take long before you appreciate how much I like this Co. Wicklow parkland.
The par five 6th approach.


  1. I play in a society with just over 50 members. We have booked in for next September at Rathsallagh and we can't wait, all the reports have been good and not one of us has ever played there before so it should be a nice addition to our calender. It is a long trek for us to get there as we normally keep it to the local tracks, we have maybe 18 courses within an hours drive. We do the 3 closest every year no matter what and vary the rest. So there was a reason for this journey and it is as follows. Apologies for digressing but we were making a point to other clubs. Every club that we booked last year we got for €20 or less. This year the three locals stayed the same and every other club wanted €30 or €35, an increase of 50 or 75%!!! No way, José. And we had played some of them courses virtually every year. We pondered playing the 3 locals twice, 2 others came back to us with €20 but an 8am start. So we said we would look further afield to see what we could get and that is how Rathsallagh got on our list. Having looked further into this we heard gossip that some clubs formed a cartel and all agreed to up their rates and stick to them. If they did then I am soooo sorry for them that it didn't work.

    1. That ended up in my Spam folder! Ta for the follow up!!

      I did think that golf clubs should hold off for another year before increasing prices... but 50-75% increases as part of a collective will only backfire, as you just proved. A small increase is now justified - green fees have been flat for too long as other costs have increased and clubs have cut costs to the bare bones.

  2. Just read your piece on Rathsallagh, Kevin - agree with most of it, bar the very last line. Course changes........we witnessed this a few weeks ago and I'm not at all sure about it.
    Basically, they are seeking to eliminate that long walk to the 2nd tee. It never bothered me - aren't we SUPPOSED to be athletes? And there's loads of buggies anyway..........
    The regrettable thing, for me, is that they are losing their 7th hole to do this - the green remains, but it will be reached by a new par 3 tee from near the back left of the 1st green. It will be a wider but much more shallow target and, forgiving your presence Kev, I think the current 7th is easily the best and prettiest and possibly toughest par 3 on the track. So, it is now gone and while much of Rathsallagh's resurrection is welcome (I've played it ever since it opened), this change for me is most unfortunate. If it ain't broke................

    1. I don't disagree with you, Colm, the 7th was a fine hole and the toughest. Reducing to 130 yards is a shame but it'll be interesting to see what you do with it. I also agree 100% on the walk to the 2nd - never understood people complaining about it. Daft