14 clubs with interesting membership offers

For golfers wishing to join a club, there’s plenty on offer, writes Kevin Markham.

This is the time of year when many golfers turn their minds to 2017, and where they will be playing their golf. For those who belong to a member club, they have nothing to do but pay their annual sub and sit back and smile; for others who want to join a club, or move club, there is plenty on offer. The challenge is figuring out which deal is best for you.

A popular approach is to offer 15 or 16 months membership for the price of 12. These kick in around September/October. One of the key advantages, in my view, is that you pay your money in autumn and not in January, when the post- Christmas purse-tightening is still in effect.

Other offers focus on juniors, students, and under-30s, all of whom are valuable assets to a golf club. After all, they could be playing golf for 60 years. Ladies are also attractive (especially as spouses or through the CGI introductory courses), as are people who are new to the game. The offers vary, from a straight discount to the tiered pricing model: For example, €600 in year one, €800 in year two and then the full sub of €1,000 in year three.

Not all golf clubs are doing membership offers. Some clubs are doing so well and attracting members without any trouble that an entrance fee remains in place.

This is because of the quality of the course, the location, the reputation and/or the social atmosphere. Cork and Douglas golf clubs spring to mind and, let’s be honest, if you’re prepared to pay the entrance fee, then you are invested in the club and its future.

The news that Fernhill is closing its doors at the end of the year is sad for its members. It is, however, good news for other clubs in the Cork region, which will see the closure as an opportunity to acquire new members.

And it won’t just be Fernhill members looking for a new home in 2017, so here are 14 clubs with some interesting offers. Most of the following clubs include terms and conditions, so please enquire if you’re interested in membership.

Ballykisteen Golf Club

A water-laced parkland which moves over lazy, undulating terrain. The course is still maturing but the water features, nestled up to greens, and the smart layout present plenty of enjoyable challenges.

Entrance Fee:

None.

Offer:

16 months for the price of 12, starting whenever you join. Cost of ordinary member subscription is €704 (all fees included). Membership includes free access to the hotel’s leisure centre and gym, a €100 credit on your card (if sub paid in full) and four green fee vouchers.

Ballyneety Golf Club

The clubhouse sits in the course’s centre, halfway up the small hill which serves as Ballyneety’s centrepiece. All the holes here are good, with trees and water adding to the experience, but those on the hillsides are the most entertaining.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

15 months for the price (€800) of 12, starting October 2016. Current ordinary member sub: €750. A significant additional benefit for members is reciprocal golf at Athlone, Cobh, Waterford, and Rush golf clubs.

Bantry Bay Golf Club

A parkland above the bay, with dramatic views from every hole. The course rolls over heavily undulating terrain and everything about Bantry Bay feels big… especially the green complexes.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

A new first-year membership is available for only €350 (current ordinary member sub: €680). This applies to ladies and men who are new to the game, or who have not been a member of a golf club for at least two years.

Castlemartyr Golf Club

A low, bumpy, intriguing links-like course tucked around a five-star resort.

Excellent quality and the fairways glide easily between the ridges which define the hole shapes. A short front nine is followed by a far tougher back nine.

Entrance fee:

€2,000.

Offer:

Gents annual sub is €1,100, while ladies have an introductory offer of €599, with no entrance fee. Membership includes reduced B&B rates in the hotel, a 50% discount on joining the leisure club and four free four balls, one for each of the four sister golf resorts in the UK.

Castletroy Golf Club

A tree-lined parkland on the edge of Limerick, which has worked magical things with the space available. The terrain has more movement than you’d expect (on the back nine, especially) and you’ll enjoy exceptional conditioning.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

The annual sub is €1,450, but this price is guaranteed for 10 years. Under 30s pay €650 per year.

Charleville Golf Club

No climbing, nothing complicated, just comfortable golf through avenues of tall pine and birch. You’ll need to play smart golf to negotiate the many subtle doglegs, but this is a charming round from start to finish.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

You can join now as a beginner (or lapsed GUI cardholder) for €350, with membership lasting till December 2017. The annual sub is based on age categories, with under 30s paying €380. Membership also includes discounted rates at the nearby Charleville Park Hotel Leisure Club.

Clonmel Golf Club

High up in the hills, in deep woodland, Clonmel is full of adventure. There are slopes galore and the greens can be wicked, so smart shot-making is required. Holes 13 to 15 are thrilling.

Entrance fee: None.

Offer:

New members and lapsed members (seven years) can join for €450 in 2017 and €500 in 2018. Usual ordinary member sub is €700. Reciprocal playing arrangements exist with Carrick-on- Suir, 50km away.

Dooks Golf Club

A links of tremendous variety and majestic scenery. Dooks slides through often quirky and erratic dunes, down slopes to Castlemaine Harbour. The greens are some of the best you will ever play.

Entrance fee:

€2,000… but not quite yet.

Offer:

This prestigious links has a special one-year trial membership for the exceptional rate of €580 (the annual sub is the same amount). This gives you full access to the course, as well as the Kerry Card, which gives green fee discounts of 50% at all Kerry courses. If after your trial year you wish to stay, the entrance fee of €2,000 will be due. This can be paid over three years.

Enniscorthy Golf Club

An old and very entertaining country parkland. Most holes are straight, which makes things simple, but the ups and downs between the many trees add plenty of thrills.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

The offer is focused on new golfers and is called ‘learn to play’ membership. For €150, new golfers get three months membership. This includes a free group lesson from the pro. If you decide to join after your three months, the €150 is deducted from your annual sub. Current ordinary member sub: €800.

Gort Golf Club

This is sweet country golf over a rolling landscape, where distant mountains are constantly on show. Gort promises plenty of parkland fun, but those switches in elevation and direction will fool you.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

15 months for the price of 12, starting October 2016. Introductory membership of €269 (20-24 years), €369 (25-30), €469 (over 30). Current ordinary member sub: €630.

Killarney Golf & Fishing Club

Lough Leane and the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks make Killeen and Mahony’s Point two of Ireland’s most picturesque courses. Killeen is big and challenging, where accuracy off the tee is crucial, while Mahony’s is a gentler affair, with that famous par-three finish.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

Full membership of €310 (plus GUI/ILGU Levy) for new members aged 18-24. This increases to €605 for new members aged 25-29. There are also reciprocal playing arrangements with Fota Island for full members.

Newcastle West Golf Club

A fine, maturing parkland surrounded by Irish countryside. This is a gentle challenge, with generous fairways and greens and trees which stay well back. The par threes all play to greens below.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

Pay now and your membership runs until the end of 2017. The best part of the deal, however, is a twinning arrangement which means you are a ‘member’ of five clubs. You can play casual golf at Youghal, Oughterard, Castlecomer, and Castlewarden golf clubs for free. The current ordinary member subscription is €764, with golfers aged under 25 paying just €208.

Ring of Kerry Golf Club

A frisky hillside course with spectacular views of Kenmare Bay and the Kerry Mountains. There’s lots of movement to every hole and plenty of deceptive slopes and angles to fool you.

Entrance fee: None.

Offer:

The annual sub is €250 (ex VAT) for golfers over 18. This includes six complimentary rounds at Parknasilla, down the road, and courtesy playing rights at Clement Ader Golf Club… in Paris. Members also receive the Kerry Card, which entitles them to discounted green fees at other Kerry courses.

Waterford Castle Golf Club

Relaxing parkland golf on an island. The river is constantly in view, as you play through big trees and over gentle slopes on this highly enjoyable resort golf course.

Entrance fee:

None.

Offer:

Introductory membership of €850 (current ordinary member sub: €1,055). There is a reciprocal membership with Dromoland Castle, as well as impressive discounted green fee arrangements with Mount Juliet, Powerscourt, Carton House, Lough Erne, The Heritage and Mount Wolseley.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Tiger Woods bites back with bogey free 65

Tiger toils in the Bahamas turning potential 68 into a 73

Tiger Woods nervous ahead of return but winning remains the target

22 Irish golf courses make UK & Ireland top 100 list


Breaking Stories

Tiger Woods produces rusty final round but happy to be over ‘scary time’

Five things we learned from this weekend's Premier League action

Mourinho blasts Everton's long-ball tactics in ill-tempered press conference

Ciarán Carey resigns as Kerry hurling manager

Lifestyle

Top eight foodie gifts for Christmas under €10

How to be a better person in the digital age

Dublin Strolls provides a guide to the rich interiors of the city's architecture

The people behind the gardens

More From The Irish Examiner