Tuesday 21 November 2017

Cregmore open eyes to prize power

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

THE West's awake in terms of coming up with ideas to promote golf and, above all, to reduce expenditure. First up is John McGrath, head greenkeeper of the family-owned Cregmore Park GC in Galway.

John has noticed that in open competitions golfers often need to shoot 40 points or more to figure in the prizes.

But what about the player who shoots to his handicap? His 36 points usually won't qualify for a prize -- and that's where John has seen an opportunity.

His brainchild has evolved into 'The Connacht Golf Courses 36 Points Challenge'.

It's an intriguing notion. Basically, 19 Connacht clubs have signed up to be part of the challenge.

Any male golfer with a valid GUI handicap who scores a minimum 36 points in five of the 19 courses will qualify for an end-of-season final with a prize of a voucher to the value of €750 available for the winners in each of the four handicap categories.

The vouchers are sponsored by Golfstyle, the golf retail store in Galway city.

John explained his idea: "Essentially, it is a method of potentially increasing visitor numbers, and thus revenue, for all the courses involved.

"It also seeks to redress the situation on many open days throughout Connacht where one usually needs to shoot 40-plus points to only maybe come third and then win a prize of negligible value for their efforts. What all courses want is for golfers to be driving out the gate happy after their round.


"With this competition, if the golfer can score 36 points and play to his handicap, he is one step closer to winning the biggest prize he is allowed to win as an amateur.

"He will also have paid in five green fees along the way to five different courses, and so have helped courses trade better in the recession.

"The golfer also does not have to worry himself with the guys shooting 42/43/44/ points anymore on an open day. He just has to tip around and play to his handicap.

"The competition starts whenever open days start in each course, which is usually sometime in March.

"That means a golfer has around seven months to score 36 points at the five courses he chooses in order to book himself a place in the final."

The clubs taking part are: Athenry, Ballinasloe, Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Carrick-on-Shannon, Claremorris, Connemara, Cregmore Park, Curra West, Enniscrone, Galway Bay, Gort, Mountbellew, Oughterard, Portumna, Roscommon, Strandhill, Tuam, and Westport.

The closing date for entry is September 21, 2012. For further details contact 087 7593357.

Irish Independent

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