Golf Club finances discussed

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MEMBERS of Newton Stewart Golf Club are praying for a good summer to get the club back on a sound financial footing after green fees dropped by almost £4,000 in a year.

The club received over £20,000 from the Wigtown Area Committee of the council in July 2012 to help ease their financial problems, and as part of the conditions attached, the council get a copy of the annual statement of accounts of the club, which were reviewed by elected members at Wednesday’s Wigtown Area Committee meeting.

Council officers are in the process of working with members of the club to promote the golf course and develop a more sustainable business model after the club posted losses of over £63,000 over the past two years. Income dropped to £68,112 from £79,449 with subscriptions falling by £8,445 and green fees down £3,754 over a one year period. Expenditure remains reasonably constant, however, had increased by £4,628 between November 2011 and November 2012.

There has been a turnaround in the club’s fortunes since their annual general meeting in February this year and they continue to work with council officers, producing a joint development plan aimed at moving the club to a sustainable position by November 2014.

A small area of land belonging to the club has now been integrated into the Local Development Plan for potential future sale. But any proposed sale would require the consent of the council and the finance officer has recommended that any sale of land should not be contemplated if the proceeds were simply to be applied to supporting revenue losses, as that would not be a sustainable way forward for the club. In turn, the club commented that proceeds from any future land sale would not be used to support revenue losses, but would be utilised to create much needed reserves of capital.

The club are working hard to reduce staff costs and investigating potential changes to their stewarding arrangements and identifying where best volunteers could be deployed. A reduction in membership fees for local schoolchildren is being investigated with a view to growing the next generation of golfers and the club have made efforts to develop commercial partnerships with local businesses and accommodation providers.

But despite all that hard work much depends on the weather during the peak golfing months of April to September.