Portrush gold rush in full swing
AND so, reality hits home in the pocket. I'm talking about the Irish Open being staged at Royal Portrush in the summer.
Be aware that the cost of accommodation in and around Portrush is climbing, as is evident by the experience of one Irish PGA professional.
The pro started looking for a place to stay during the Irish Open week.
"I started looking the night before the announcement, but I couldn't book anything online," he said.
"The next morning (Friday, with the official announcement due at 2.0) I started making phone calls.
"I phoned one guy who had a two-bed apartment available for the week. He wanted £1,000 for it, but I didn't take it because I thought I'd get something cheaper.
"I rang another place and was told straight out: 'yes I have an apartment available but I'm not giving it to you because I'm waiting for one of the big boys.'
"He didn't ask me who I was or whether I was a player or anything.
"Another guy had a number of apartments in Portrush and Portstewart and told me he wasn't going to give me anything in Portrush, but I could have a two-bed apartment in Portstewart for £1,000 for the week, or a one-bed apartment in Portstewart for £800.
"Another fella said he was only taking bids for an apartment -- that I could make a bid and he'd get back to me if I was outbid in his auction to see if I wanted to increase my bid.
"A nice man very politely rang me back and told me he had a two-bed apartment that's normally £400 for that week. He said he was only ringing out of courtesy.
"That was because he didn't know what to charge, as his friend, who had an apartment that he usually charged £375 a week for, was getting £1,500 for the Open week.
"The common reaction I'm getting is that they won't quote you a price until it's closer to the time."
We shouldn't be surprised. The prices are always at a premium for the British Open, the Masters, US Open and USPGA, and there were certainly high rates charged in some quarters for the Irish Open in Killarney over the last two years.
However, given the economic climate and the investment by tourism bodies in the Irish Open, you'd think some kind of restraint could be applied.