Lahinch returns to profit after rising green fee revenue

Lahinch Golf Club returned to profit last year to post an operating profit of just under a million euros after an end-of-season increase in green fee revenue.

According to the club’s 2021 annual report, Lahinch recorded an operating surplus of €990,554 last year, after recording a loss of €303,199 during the 2020 pandemic. This represents a positive swing of 1.29 million euros.

In a report presented to members at yesterday’s general meeting in Lahinch, Martin O’Sullivan, chairman of Lahinch Golf Club, said the operating surplus was “a very welcome turnaround from 2020”.

In 2020, course closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the suspension of international tourist travel led to an 88% drop in green fee revenues, from €1.88 million to €226,025.

However, green fee revenue rebounded last year to €1.05 million.

The US golf market is a vital market for the club and US golfers typically represent a significant portion of green fee revenue. It costs non-member golfers €250 for a round on Lahinch’s famous Old Course during the high season from May to September.

The club successfully hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 2019 and counts former Irish rugby captain Paul O’Connell among its members.

“End of season growth”

In his report, Mr O’Sullivan said: ‘We have benefited from a belated increase in gambling fees and store revenue after the borders reopened, which has enabled us to welcome overseas visitors back to our club.”

Revenue from the club shop rose from €45,332 to €183,169, helping to nearly double revenue to €2.6 million.

Revenue also includes membership fees of €1 million and a Covid-19 business continuity grant from the state of €235,071. Club spending increased only slightly, from €2.66m to €2.71m.

The club received €476,601 in Covid-19 wage subsidies in 2021, after receiving €292,805 in 2020.

According to the report, the club expects green fee revenue to increase to €2.8m this year, while overall revenue is expected to increase by 73% to €4.5m.

Spent

The club’s expenses are expected to rise by more than €1.1m to €3.85m. The club expects an operating profit of 1.4 million euros for 2022.

At the end of last December, its total funds amounted to 7.5 million euros, including a cumulative profit of 6.24 million euros.

The club’s cash flow increased from €1.45m to €2.24m at the end of the year. “The improvement in our cash position facilitates our intention to replenish our contingency fund to weather unexpected future financial shocks,” O’Sullivan said.

A 7.5% increase in annual subscriptions has been proposed by 2023, to counter expected inflationary cost increases. “The maximum actual increase offered for individual full members is €63, or just over a euro a week, with much lower increases offered for other categories,” he said.

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