Sadly, a second Irish golf club in a short space of time is set to permanently shut down, unless last ditch help arrives to save Castleisland Golf Club.
After Killorglin Golf Club closed its gates nine days ago, now the same fate is facing the Castleisland Members Golf Club, one of many in Ireland designed by the now late Dr. Arthur Spring.
The Co. Kerry course has struggled in recent years with membership numbers and is now closed due to the Coronavirus, fearing it may never reopen.
Good friend and colleague, Simon Lewis with the Irish Examiner, reports membership has fallen from a high of 650 members to just 125, with the club’s steering committee advising all remaining members earlier this week that the picturesque parkland course will be wound up on Monday, 6th April unless a rescue plan can be formulated.
“Recent years have been very challenging for golf clubs with the huge fall off in membership,” the letter stated.
“Following Government advice the golf course closed on March 24 due to COVID-19. We do not expect it to reopen.”
Planned revenue from three fundraising events, green fees, sponsorship and society days have meant an estimated blow of €40,000 to exacerbate a perilous financial situation arising from three months of bad weather and now the current public health emergency, which has seen membership renewals halved from 2019.
The latest club crisis came as golf’s governing bodies on the island of Ireland issued a statement reiterating its plans to lobby government departments and agencies in the Republic and Northern Ireland to support golf clubs experiencing financial hardship in the current emergency. With reports of many other clubs said to be struggling badly amid COVID-19, including Castle Barna Golf Club whose future is very much up in the air, this support couldn’t come soon enough.
“We are planning to outline the financial impact of the current crisis on our member clubs to government departments and agencies,” said a joint statement from the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union issued on Tuesday.
“A survey has been circulated to all golf clubs which aims to capture the economic impact for clubs. It is our intention to collate the data and prepare a high-level paper for both governments to consider.
“The Unions will continue to make a compelling case for state-funded supports to help our clubs recover as soon as possible.”
Any response from the Irish Government may come too late for Castleisland, however.
The club’s letter to members continued: “Unfortunately, we have not enough members to run a golf club. Therefore, it is with huge sadness that we recommend to our members that Castleisland Members Golf Club should be wound up on April 6, 2020.”