Irish golf clubs predicting huge drop in green fee income this year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 18, 2020 20:17

Two major Irish golf clubs are predicting that green fee losses caused by Covid-19 will run into millions of pounds between them just for 2020.

Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, which hosted the Open last year, has written to its members to reveal that its green fee income for 2020, which was expected to be more than £2 million as that amount in green fees had been booked before the pandemic had started, will end up being just £150,000 due to cancellations and postponements.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, this means the club is budgeting for a £1 million loss for 2020 and may seek voluntary redundancies in an effort to offset the damage.

“Council have decided, as a first step, to ascertain if any staff are interested in voluntary redundancy although the club would review applications based on our operating needs,” the club said in the letter, explaining cost-cutting measures would be put in place.

Royal Portrush Golf Club. Image from Facebook

A spokesperson for the club added: “Over 80 percent of the club’s visitors are from overseas and as a result of the continuing uncertainty caused by the global health crisis many bookings have either been cancelled or postponed.

“The club is carrying out an ongoing review of all areas of its cost base and staff levels.”

The club added that the decision to carry out the review was taken with “considerable regret” but the management of the club’s finances had to be ensured during the challenging economic times.

“Royal Portrush Golf Club can confirm that it has begun a process of engagement with members of staff and due to the sensitive nature of these decisions the club will be making no further comment on the matter,” the club concluded.

The paper adds that Portmarnock Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland is expecting a similar percentage drop in green fee income this year and may impose a levy on members to cover the losses.

The club brought in €1.61 million in green fees in 2019, about €300,000 more than from membership subscriptions.

It has written to members explaining that one way to make up for the shortfall caused by the pandemic could be the imposition of a levy of €5,000 per person, spread over three years.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 18, 2020 20:17
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  1. GHW August 23, 19:38

    Think how the tour operators feel who supply majority of tourism fees. Clubs still bring in membership fees whilst tour operators lose every booking for 2020.

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  2. djm August 20, 11:11

    In respect of Portrush, very hard to have any sympathy for an operation that cynically sought to lever its newly found fame since the Open 2019 by jacking up green fees – £240 in summer.

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