ONE of Ireland’s best known golf clubs has brought its accounts out of the red and onto the green over the past year, it emerged this week, despite problems caused by extreme weather and the volcanic ash cloud.
Lahinch Golf Club managed to turn around its financial position moving from losses of €476,580 in 2009 to “a modest surplus of €65,280” last year.
According to the club’s report of council, this was due in the main to increasing membership fees and a reduction of hours in the off-season for staff.
The annual subscription for 2010 jumped 17% and staff who were put onto a three-day week from October to March were thanked “for their forbearance and understanding”.
2010 had been a difficult year for the club, Eugene Gilligan, chairperson of the council, told the AGM, because of “unprecedented wintry weather causing the closure of our courses for January, February, most of March and December. No sooner had we recovered from that setback, than the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud played havoc with flight arrangements into and out of the country during April and May. The net result of the former was to reduce playing time for members and the latter caused cancellations of green fee visitors. It also impacted on competition numbers. In total, 54 days including 11 weekends were lost to adverse weather.”
Spending on administration dropped by nearly €200,000 between ‘09 and ’10 while spending on the clubhouse dropped from €463,388 in 2009 to €324,671 the following year.
Income from subscriptions went up but green fees and competition fees were down on 2009. Over the past year, 56 new members were elected and admitted as ordinary and overseas life members.
Sponsorship was up slightly while profit on sale of equipment went from €10,567 to €30,790.
The club’s accounts show that it expects a lower income this year in almost all areas, except green fees and competition fees. It also predicts that the club’s expenditure will be decreased with more money being spent on advertising, promotion and entertainment in 2011 but approximately €100,000 less being spent on the course.
Despite last year’s unusually harsh weather, the courses themselves were well preserved. “We are consistently ranked in the top 50 in the world and the top 20 in Britain and Ireland,” the AGM was told.