If a round of golf at €60 seems steep, remember you are being offered the chance to play The European Club and win €1,000 in cash if you manage a hole-in-one at the sixth.
No-one could ever accuse Pat Ruddy of lacking in imagination and by combining the new rules of amateur status with his desire to attract as many winter golfers as possible to his hand-crafted links near Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow, he’s come up with what could well be another first.
“Amateur golfers are invited to play for a cash prize of €1,000 for a hole-in-one at The European Club in January, February and March,” Mr Ruddy informed us yesterday. “Such a prize has become possible since January 1 when the R&A changed the rules on prize values for amateurs and it is believed that The European Club cash prize offer is the first under the new rules.
“Hitherto, a prize voucher was limited to a retail value of £500 but amateurs may now accept unlimited cash prizes for holes-in-one scored during a competition round. Players, male and female amateurs with current handicap cards and Irish professionals, may play for the €1,000 by entering an open singles which takes place at The European Club every day in January, February and March.
“The prize, which will be divided if there is more than one hole-in-one, is on offer at the par-3 sixth hole which will measure 200-yards for the purpose of this prize. Players may enter as many open singles as they wish in the three month period, on any day of the week, at an entry fee of €60.”
The chances of a hole in one at the sixth are remote enough at the best of times as you play from one of a series of elevated tees to a green protected to the left by a stream and to the right by sand.
If you haven’t played the course before, you can consider the sixth a warmer-upper for the terrrifying seventh. And if you follow a hole-in-one at the sixth with a birdie or even a par at the seventh, you deserve not €1,000 but €1 million.
Whatever the future holds in store for you on the golf course, you are assured of a very warm welcome from Pat Ruddy and his family on your arrival.
Incidentally, the man himself has just penned a new book, The Perfect Golf Links. We offer no prizes for guessing which course he’s writing about but we are told that it features his own pictures of every hole at The European Club and some essays on course design.
From “Rules of Amateur Status” as approved by R&A Rules Limited and the United States Golf Association
Effective 1 January 2012
3-2. Prize Limits
An amateur golfer must not accept a prize (other than a symbolic prize) or prize voucher of retail value in excess of £500 or the equivalent, or such a lesser figure as may be decided by the Governing Body. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers received by an amateur golfer in any one competition or series of competitions.
Exception: Hole-in-one prizes – see Rule 3-2b.
Note 1: The prize limits apply to any form of golf competition, whether on a golf course, driving range or golf simulator, including nearest the hole and longest drive competitions.
Note 2: The responsibility to prove the retail value of a particular prize rests
with the Committee in charge of the competition.
Note 3: It is recommended that the total value of prizes in a gross competition, or each division of a handicap competition, should not exceed twice the prescribed limit in an 18-hole competition, three times in a 36-hole competition, five times in a 54-hole competition and six times in a 72-hole competition.
b. Hole-in-One Prizes
An amateur golfer may accept a prize in excess of the limit in Rule 3-2a, including a cash prize, for a hole-in-one made while playing a round of golf.
Note: The hole-in-one must be made during a round of golf and be incidental to that round. Separate multiple-entry contests, contests conducted other than on a golf course (e.g. on a driving range or golf simulator) and putting contests do not qualify under this provision and are subject to the restrictions and limits in Rules 3-1 and 3-2a.