Profits down 46pc at Lahinch Golf Club as fee income plummets
Profits at one of the country's most exclusive golf clubs last year declined by 46pc to €291,947 after income from new membership fees plummeted.
According to Lahinch Golf Club's annual report, the 121-year-old Co Clare club recorded a surplus last year of €291,947, compared with a surplus of €540,231 in 2011.
The links club counts Irish rugby international Paul O'Connell and multi-Major winner Phil Mickelson among its members. The chief factor behind the drop in profits was revenue from entrance fees declining by 94pc from €262,999 to €15,000.
The drop in income from overseas life membership fees was less stark, as it declined from €179,606 to €141,815.
In a report presented to members of Lahinch Golf Club yesterday at its AGM, club captain Ray Hennessy confirmed that the club has lost 500 fee-paying members since 2009.
Overall, membership last year dropped by 87 from 2,772 to 2,685, and this followed a loss in 2011 of 75 adult members through resignations, and a further 98 receiving leave of absence. In his report, Mr Hennessy blames the drop-off in members on "the financial crisis" and Lahinch facing the specific challenge of being a second club for the majority of members.
In response to the drop-off in membership, the club last year slashed entrance fees for new members from €25,000 to €10,000 and also proposed a new intermediate category of membership.
However, Mr Hennessy reported a 7pc increase in green fee income to €1.13m last year – the average green fee charged by the club declined by 38pc from €111 in 2008 to €69 in 2011.
Last year, the golf club transferred €1m of its reserves to a contingency fund "in the event of a material downturn in green fee revenue".
The increase in green fee income and a reduction in operating costs of €1m over four years contributed to the club increasing its operating profits last year by 38pc, from €97,626 to €135,132.
That figure was before income from membership fees was taken into account.