*Crowds at the DDF Irish Open in Lahinch last July. Photograph: Brian Arthur
The staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (DDFIO) last year contributed to Lahinch Golf Club recording a ‘not unexpected’ operating loss of €564,148.
By Gordon Deegan
That is according to the 2019 accounts for the North West Clare golf club which show that the staging of the very successful DDFIO last year and men’s home internationals along with an increase in guest tee time intervals from 10 to 12 minutes contributed to green fee income reducing by 19% from €2.32m to €1.88m.
Revenues this year have been further hit by the golf club closure due to Covid 19 and the club is currently preparing to re-open next week as the Government relaxes restrictions.
In his report to members, chairperson of the club, Martin O’Sullivan states that the club is “reviewing our five year financial projections in light of Covid-19 and are taking prudent decisions with respect to our future investment projects”.
Mr O’Sullivan states: “We are confident that through prudent management of our costs and cost base combined with judicious use of our contingency fund, we can successfully ride out the current storm.”
Mr O’Sullivan states that the golf club is “liaising with tour operators and guests to mitigate the impact of cancellations by offering to defer tee times into 2021 and 2022”.
Mr O’Sullivan points out that the club last year recorded a cash surplus of around €479,000 before a non-cash depreciation charge of €937,898 is taken into account.
The operating loss of €564,148 last year followed a number of years of strong operating surpluses including a surplus of €355,505 in 2018.
The club counts former Irish rugby captain, Paul O’Connell as a member and in his report, Mr O’Sullivan states that the staging of the DDFIO resulted in direct costs of €159,303 while staff and related costs increased by €224,748 due in part to the staging of the DDFIO.
Mr O’Sullivan stated that the staging of the DDFIO “and all that surrounded it has been widely acclaimed as a resounding success”.
He stated that the European Tour players recently voted the tournament as the second-best event on tour in 2019 and the golf course, village and the wider west Clare region received worldwide exposure through Sky Sports and the Golf Channel with pictures broadcast into 350 million homes
The club’s overall revenues last year declined by 9% from €3.83m to €3.45 while the club’s expenditure last year increased by 15.5% from €3.47m to €4.02m.
Membership to the club is currently closed and Mr O’Sullivan states that expressions of interest in our overseas life membership category have increased significantly since the DDFIO.
Mr O’Sullivan states that during 2019, €1.76m was invested in club facilities including repair of coastal defences.
At the end of December last, the club’s shareholder funds totalled €8.67m that included an accumulated fund of €7.37m and a contingency fund of €1.3m.