Feb 26, 2016 | 06:51 am

Going Bust In Ballybunion

The Ballybunion Golf Hotel in Ireland is almost as well known as the golf course it sits next to. Countless golfers have stayed in the 100-room hostelry, which is on Ballybunion’s Main Street and, with six floors, is the tallest building in County Kerry. However, according to the Irish Examiner newspaper, the hotel announced earlier this week that it is closing. On the hotel’s Facebook page, owner Michael Carr blamed a lack of support from Irish tourism officials and the absence of an “independent tourism organisation in Ballybunion.” Plus, he cited “false information,” spread by local politicians late last year, that the town would be hosting “up to 200 asylum seekers” coming from the Middle East in the wake of the refugee crisis overwhelming Europe. Carr said he had made an offer to the British government to house a maximum of 25 refugees, but that “the speculation had an adverse impact on his business” and that bookings “completely collapsed.” He also was the victim of threats. This was to be the hotel’s 50th anniversary year; instead, its contents will be sold off over the next month with a private auction to take place on March 26.

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Feb 25, 2016 | 09:43 am

Woes at Wentworth

Even if you have never played at Wentworth, in Surrey, England, you have likely seen it host the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship on television. The club has three 18-hole courses, one 9-hole course, tennis, and it serves a moneyed crowd.

What you may not have followed is the recent turmoil Wentworth has experienced. The club was sold in 2014 for £135 million to a group of Chinese investors. While that news didn't shake the foundation, a letter that nearly 4,000 members received a few months later did. The letter explained that members would need to leave the club and then reapply for only 800 spots. Those lucky 800 would then need to fork over £100,000 to secure their place. A cherry on top is that annual dues double to £16,000. 

This article by Audrey Gillan at the Guardian outlines the issues recently plaguing club membership. What would you do if you were forced out of your club? Would you re-apply to be one of the 800?

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Feb 24, 2016 | 10:15 am

No Starch

With the PGA Tour headed to Trump National Doral next week, golf fans are wondering if Donald Trump and his presidential bid will overshadow the WGC-Cadillac Championship. But perhaps he won't appear at all since there are 11 GOP caucuses and primaries next week on "Super Tuesday" and another four on Friday. Plus, golf is now "small potatoes" to him, as he said at a campaign rally in Kiawah Island, S.C.—at one of the premier golf resorts in the U.S., no less! "I don’t care about that stuff anymore," he said. "It is like small potatoes, right? I’ll let my kids run it, have fun with it, let my executives have a good time, but I don’t care about it. I care about making America great again.” That's probably welcome news to the governing bodies, who are uneasy holding events at Trump courses given his controversial statements and exclusionary views. In addition to the Tour stop at Doral, his course in Bedminster, N.J., is scheduled to hold the U.S. Women's Open in 2017 and the PGA Championship in 2022, while his Virginia club is scheduled to host the Senior PGA in 2017. The R&A also just said that they haven't ruled out Trump Turnberry for 2022.

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Feb 23, 2016 | 09:05 am

Where’s Tiger?

Twitter reports this week claim that Tiger Woods has suffered a setback in his recuperation from back surgery. Golf writer Robert Lusetich  says "He can’t move well; painful to sit. Sits in car with seat fully reclined. No forseeable return,” while according to Secret Tour Pro (a prominent PGA Tour player who tweets anonymously to a following of more than 32,000) “He was aiming to play the Players in May but now that is completely off.” Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg dismissed the reports as “ridiculous and absolutely false,” but neither tweeter has backed off. Tiger’s caddie Joe La Cava believes his man will be back sooner rather than later and has declined job offers from other players. And Tiger himself? Mysteriously mute for the past two months. 

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