Council golf courses deep in the red.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fingal County Council’s two municipal golf courses have lost almost €610,000 over the last three years. Responding to a question from Cllr. Kieran Dennison (FG) the Manager revealed that in 2007, before the economic crash, they recorded a loss of €54,000. A year later the two courses were €328,278 in the red and managed to lose another €227,216 last year.

The Elmgreen Golf Centre at Castleknock has an18 hole golf course, 18 hole pitch and putt course and 24 bay driving range. It costs an average of €1.3m to run but recorded losses over the three years totaling €389,755.

The Corballis public links golf course at Donabate costs €1/2m to run. In 2007 it managed a profit of €26,887 before running up losses over the three years of €220,112.

Golf courses all over the country are finding the going tough but it is surprising that even at the height of the boom in 2007 the council’s courses were losing money. Action should have been taken in 2008 to stop the rot. Instead they increased expenditure rather than reduce it and again last year, they spent more than they took in the previous year. 

The Council now seems to have finally thrown in the towel when it comes to managing their courses and have sought tenders for management services for 2010 but it is likely to be the second half of the year before this is in operation.

The real question here is whether the council should be running golf courses at all. Even during the boom there was no shortage of courses around Dublin and for those willing to travel prices were reasonable. If it means subsidizing them to the tune of €300,000 per year then the answer is no. 

The Council also operates a 9 hole, par 3 golf course and pitch and putt course at Malahide Demesne. No details were given for this.

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