Profits jump 19pc at celebrity golf club
Profits at one of the country's most exclusive golf clubs jumped by 19pc last year.
Lahinch Golf Club counts retired Irish rugby legend Paul O'Connell and multi-major winner Phil Mickelson as members while two of its honorary life members, Terry Wogan and Christy O'Connor Jnr, have passed away in recent weeks.
The links club's 2015 accounts show that green fee income rose by 13pc to €1.6m. The 124-year-old club recorded a surplus last year of €491,937 compared to €412,511 in 2014.
In a report presented to the members yesterday at the club's AGM, chairperson Eamon Foley said that "our financial situation is in good health with our surplus for the year exceeding budget, positive cash flow and a strong balance sheet".
Mr Foley said that the higher green fee income"was due principally to an increase of 11pc in the average green fee rate".
Lahinch may not have the same level of concerns about coastal erosion as Donald Trump's Doonbeg golf resort 20 miles down the Clare coast, but Mr Foley said some spending may be required.
"We face a major challenge in protecting the Old Course from the elements, in particular the Atlantic Ocean," he said.
"The many and frequent storms over the last couple of years have taken their toll. The course has suffered damage from wind, rain, sand blow and salt water.
"Of most concern is the damage to our existing coastal defence system (rock armour etc) and erosion, both of which are clearly visible following the recent storm, Imogen."
He added: "Significant capital expenditure may be required to provide adequate and necessary protection for the dunes and course against what now appears to be a regular pattern of severe storms."
Annual fees from members continued to fall - down from €939,132 to €928,960. Mr Foley said, "unfortunately, as expected, we experienced a further fall in member subscriptions and we expect this trend to continue over the next few years".
In his report, Mr Foley added: "The outlook for the future is bright. Our finances are in good order and we are budgeting for a profit again in 2016."
The club is budgeting for a profit of €298,206 this year on revenues of €3m.