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I have decided not to renew my golf club membership for 2011 - I have been a member of Coolattin GC since 1997, but I can no longer justify the (modest) annual membership fee of €600. My main playing partner is my brother Joe - he too is closing his membership, and this is also a major factor in my decision. We have decided to go the green fee route. Neither of us played much in 2010 - it certainly would have been cheaper to have paid green fees every time we played rather than be members of a club. For 2011 this is what we propose to do - pay green fees where ever we want to play (including in Collattin). Of course we will loose our handicaps, but I'm not sure this will make much difference to the amount of golf we play.
I guess golf clubs are feeling the economic pinch just the same as everyone else, and I regret that my decision to leave Coolattin GC might cause some difficulty for the club which has a fantastic golf course that I really like. I'm certain that casual golfers, as I am, all over the country are doing the same. Golf clubs may need to get creative about how they want to survive. Ireland is known as a country with some of the world's top golf courses - but even these are under financial pressure. We may see clubs closing, or doing desperate deals to keep going.
I do hope to keep playing golf - even though I am hopeless (I'm happy if I break 100 in a round!), I really enjoy the game. So whenever I think "I'd rather be playing golf", I will do something about it.