THE economic recession is hitting Lahinch Golf Club, with the annual accounts for 2012 showing that the county’s flagship course has been hit by a loss of 500 fee-paying members in the last three years.
It was revealed on Friday last that a drop in new membership numbers in the past year has contributed to a financial slide of a 46 per cent decline in profits for 2012.
The figures are contained in the latest annual report showing that the club, which celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2017, saw profits drop by €248,084 from €540,231 in 2011 to €291,947 last year.
Plummeting revenues from entrance fee levies on new members is the main factor behind this drop in profits, with the figures for 2012 dropping by 94 per cent from €262,999 in 2011 to just €15,000 last year.
This rate of loss has also been magnified by over the past three years the Lahinch has lost 500 fee-paying members, a statistic that was revealed by club captain Ray Hennessy in the report to the annual general meeting that took place on Friday last.
In 2012 membership dropped by 87 from 2,772 to 2,685, a figure that follows on from the loss of 75 members in 2011, a year in which an additional 98 members were granted leave of absences from the club, although many are expected to rejoin.
In a response to tackle 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, the financial figures also show that the drop in membership monies have been offset in part by a seven percent increase in green fee income in 2012 to €1.13m.
A collapse in green fee traffic post-2008 saw a decline of 45 per cent in revenues from the €1.87m that was garnered in 2007.
This drop saw the club record a combined operating loss of €1m in 2008 and 2009.
However, a restructuring at the club that plays host to the prestigious South of Ireland Amateur Championship every year saw it return to profit in 2011 when an operating surplus of €97,626 was recorded.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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