Royal Portrush may seek voluntary redundancies as one of the elite links to suffer an estimated 90 per cent drop in green-fee income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After hosting a successful Open Championship just over a year ago, when Shane Lowry triumphed by six strokes in front of sellout crowds, the Antrim links was expecting €2.33 million in pre-booked green fees income in 2020.
But in a letter to members, the club explained it now expects to earn just €166,000 this year and is budgeting for a €1m loss that will oblige them to make major cost savings.
"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 a letter to members, explaining cost-cutting measures would be put in place.
Most of Ireland's best-known, blue-chip links are expecting similar losses. The Irish Independent understands that Portmarnock Golf Club is expecting an equally dramatic drop in income this year having taken in €1.33m in subscriptions and €1.61m in green fees in 2019.
The club has written to members explaining that one way to make up for the shortfall caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic could be the imposition of a levy of €5,000 per man, spread over three years.
Ballybunion Golf Club will likely have a greater loss than most Irish clubs in that elite bracket. In its detailed accounts for 2019, the Kerry links revealed that its green fee income last year was a whopping €2.8m, representing 71 per cent of its operating income.
The club had an operating surplus of €1.61m in 2019 but losses appear inevitable this year as overseas visitors stay at home.