Golf Union of Ireland treasurer: “We have reached rock bottom”

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 16, 2016 14:40

The Golfing Union of Ireland’s (GUI) honorary treasurer has said the country’s golf industry has reached “rock bottom” as new figures show clubs have lost more than a quarter of their members since 2010.

The news comes as one of the four provincial branches that make up the central council of the GUI has said the fees members of golf clubs pay to it will rise by 33 percent from 2017.

irish flag guimo.

Flickr / Guimo.

The total number of GUI-affiliated golfers – as at October 31, 2015 – is now 130,000, compared with a peak of 177,000 prior to the downturn. Since 2010 alone, there has been a fall of 26 percent.

Furthermore, the Irish Independent has today reported that the GUI’s ‘finances showed a number of deficits, which last year was almost €500,000 (£390,000)’.

“We have reached rock bottom, hopefully, and we can be relatively optimistic about things improving slowly,” said the GUI’s honorary treasurer, Rollo McClure, who stated that the pace of membership decline has slowed in the last year.

The number of members of golf clubs in Munster has dropped by 21 percent, or 7,400 people, in the last six years, from a high of 35,605 Munster golfers in 2010 to 28,205 today.

Munster’s honorary treasurer, Peter English, said that “golf clubs continue to have difficulty in recruiting and retaining members”. Munster’s accounts for the last financial year showed a loss of €22,212 (£17,300) with a forecasted deficit of €10,000 (£7,778) for the year ahead.

English added that one cause of the shortfall was an increase in coaching costs.

As a result, Munster’s golf clubs’ members will pay the branch eight euros (approximately £6.20) from their annual subscription, a rise from six, bringing the total amount each member pays to local and national unions to €24 (approximately £19).

Last year Cormac Flannery, the general manager of Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, one of Ireland’s leading golf clubs, has said “our membership is trending downward at an alarming rate.”

He added: “In the past nine years, annual income derived from membership has dropped by €600,000 (£435,000)— but even in the past two years, since we took over as a members’ club, our membership income has dropped by €270,000 (£195,000) — 22 percent.”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 16, 2016 14:40
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