With Mr Fish gone the
weather in Norn Iron is magnificent. So golf is on the agenda. I have ranted before about the Royal County Down Golf Club and its reputation as an unfriendly and stuffy place. I remember seeing at a number of other Irish clubs notices which read ‘Visitors welcome from other clubs except from Royal County Down’ It used to be that visitors were not allowed to use the main club house despite paying a whacking great green fee, had to change either in their cars or in a chilly tin shed with minimal facilities. When allowed into the bar they had to be accompanied by a member and be correctly garbed with jacket and tie. Now at least there is a ‘spike bar’ where jerseys are ok. The problem partly was that RCD is a well heeled club, has a huge income from American touring parties(doing 5 Irish course in a week) and does not really need to encourage casual players even at £100 plus a head. It also has a closed membership-no applications accepted and when there is a vacancy it is by invitation only.
All is now changing. The members have been invited to contribute about £1000 a head to fund a brand new visitors centre and to present a welcoming face to the great outside world. It will be hosting the Walker Cup in a few years time and probably has ambitions to attract major tournaments to a course which is routinely rated in the World’s Top Ten. Although not all members like having tournaments here as they interfere with normal golf with the course closed to allow the stars to praactice beforehand.
And a very good thing too. Huttonian will at last be assured of a warm welcome at other clubs when checking in with his clubs and the RCD logo on his club covers-something that was wise to hide in the past