Club back in black

After teetering on the brink of financial meltdown, Newton Stewart Golf Club is firmly back in the black.

At Wednesday’s meeting of Wigtown Area Committee, the club’s annual statement of accounts met with unanimous approval from elected members after cost-cutting measures introduced by the club lowered expenditure and a successful am-am competition boosted income.

The local authority stepped in to shore up the club financially after it reported an annual loss of £40,000 in 2012, but this has been turned around to a surplus of £24,000 during 2013.

The club’s total income increased to £134,181 last year from £96,095 in 2012, largely due to a council grant of £20,000 and £16,275 from the am-am. Expenditure has reduced from £124,010 in 2012 to £110,158 in 2013, mainly due to a decrease in clubhouse expenses.

Subscriptions will remain as last year to help the club increase their membership base and juniors can join the club for £10.

Improvements in the pipeline include the development of a juniors’ course comprising of a putting green and practice area nets – if an application to Sportscotland Awards for All is successful; a nine-hole courses has been developed on flatter ground to encourage older members who find the undulations of the 18-hole course challenging; pending funding, improve the drainage and repair the pond on the ninth fairway; actively advertising the course through local hotels and bed and breakfast establishments to attract visitors; promote club activities through the local press; encourage members to volunteer to assist with the cleanliness of both the course and the clubhouse to reduce staff costs; the introduction of a coaching programme for juniors through the local primary schools as well as girls’ and ladies’ coaching to encourage new membership and using funding secured by the Dumfries and Galloway Golf Partnership from Visitscotland to attract visitors to the club.

Newton Stewart Golf Club’s proposed budget for 2014 aims to increase subscription income by £1000 to £41,000 and reduce wages from £33,397 to £27,000 and clubhouse costs from £16,834 to £11,000.

The council’s principal facilities officer Karen Brownlie said: “The committee have worked exceptionally hard to improve their financial position and the club have reduced their expenditure substantially.”

There was also praise for Stranraer Golf Club who have also improved their financial position over the past 12 months.

Councillors heard that increased membership and visitor income had contributed to a surplus of £10,486.