What amounts did golf clubs that set up lockdown crowdfunders secure?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 2, 2020 10:55

Two golf clubs, one in England and one in Scotland, that set up crowdfunders during the lockdown as they feared for their futures, detail what happened next.

Cavendish Golf Club in Derbyshire set up a fundraiser to bring in £25,000 after, like many golf clubs, it failed to receive a £25,000 grant from the government due to its rateable value, but needed to pay greenkeepers to carry out essential maintenance.

Under the terms of the Crowdfunder campaign all donation pledges would have been returned if £25,000 was not reached – leaving the club with nothing.

However money came flooding in – now standing at over £30,000 – leaving Cavendish with a surplus which will be used to upgrade the course.

In fact, the club now hopes to raise £50,000, so that it can update locker rooms and make the course more accessible for the disabled.

Chairman Terry Hayward told the Buxton Advertiser: “We want Cavendish to be a community asset – we want people to come and spend a week here, stay in the new hotel and play golf in the Peak District.

“Cavendish should be an intrinsic part of tourism for the whole town and we want to attract more visitors.

“We also want to be an inclusive club accessible to disabled people – so we need to provide facilities for them.”

Meanwhile, King James VI Golf Club in Perthshire, which was established in 1858, is also aiming to raise £25,000 in a bid to offset Covid-19 losses.

The fundraiser was only set up in mid May, and has already brought in more than half the amount needed. Like Cavendish, about 200 people have donated so far.

“We are absolutely delighted with the response so far,” club captain David Angus told The Scotsman. “The depth of feeling towards the club in the comments posted on the crowdfunding page gives me a great sense of pride and I am truly humbled by everyone’s contribution.

“The realisation that the third party income wasn’t going to materialise due to the lockdown was a wake up and smell the coffee moment. Our planning and budgeting had to be robust.”

In a letter to members, the club revealed it was facing a 54 percent loss of its income due to the lockdown and the difficulties that would create going forward.

“Generally, our creditors have been generally good at reducing the monthly payments, but we still have outgoings,” said Angus.

“We did a few projections on the status quo i.e. furloughing continuing to October and posted a £1,700 deficit. I’d have taken that as a set of accounts at the start of the year if you’d offered it to me. Then we looked at staff coming back off furlough and the problem just went off the scale, paying the staff their wages with no income would have posted closer to a £45,000 loss, so it would have been redundancies. Two other options with redundancies and then having only the greenkeeping staff both came to about a £30,000 loss.

“That gave us a target to aim for and, though £25,000 is an ambitious target, the difference that the crowdfunding appeal has is that I hope that we will have a future.

“We went for a give what you can afford strategy and also a limited release of five-year subs to help top up the fundraising but not too many that it would give us a problem this time next year. It needed to be new money to replace the 54 percent that we have lost.

“We have chosen the correct and right route to go down and our club membership is stronger for that. It’s been such a positive experience in the face of a harsh reality that most golf clubs are trying to combat, and unfortunately some may not have the depth of reserves, either financially or in spirit, to survive.

“King James VI is an example of a community coming together and using its greatest resource, its membership, to ensure it survives. Golf clubs like us are all facing the same issues. I hope their members get behind them in the way ours have and support them through this.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 2, 2020 10:55
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