Recession hits cash-strapped golf clubs

THE loss of visiting golfers during the recession has left a £20,000 hole in the income of Stranraer Golf Club, it was revealed at Wednesday’s meeting of the Wigtown Area Committee.

As the course at Creachmore, on the outskirts of the town, is council-owned and leased by the local authority to Stranraer Golf Club, the club must produce an annual statement of accounts for scrutiny by elected members.

In a report to councillors, officials stated: “It has been well publicised that golf clubs across the country have been affected by the recession, with many struggling to remain viable. Our council continues to work with the Stranraer Golf Club committee to assist with the golf club’s efforts to promote the golf club as a municipal course for the benefit of the residents of Stranraer and ensure a sustainable business model is in place.

“Over the past two years, the committee has worked very 
hard to reduce its costs and introduce innovative initiatives to maintain and encourage new membership. This has been done in tandem with the production of a new business plan. While the club is making significant progress in increasing membership income, visitor income has dropped by circa £20,000.”

Since the previous statement of accounts was published, the club’s coffers have been dented by the unexpected expenditure of repairing potholes on the road leading to the clubhouse and drainage works due to recent severe rainfall taking its toll on the course.

The club now wants to reschedule its loan repayments to the Stranraer Common Good Fund to further assist it in managing its finances over the next five years. At the meeting, elected members agreed to look at this request later in the year when a clearer picture will be available as to how the club is progressing.

Newton Stewart Golf Club applied to the council for almost £10,000 of funding towards maintaining golf facilities at the club but no money was given from the local authority’s discretionary budget.

In the previous financial year the club received funding of £20,600 from the council but this was linked to a “service agreement” that required the golf club to fulfil certain criteria. The second instalment of that money was due to be allocated soon and the awards panel recommended that no further award is given. The council advised that external funders should be approached. One of the main targets set by the council was for Newton Stewart Golf Club to become sustainable by November 2014.