A total of €596,550 will be awarded to 110 clubs that applied for The R&A Covid-19 support fund. Since its return, golf had been under immense pressure in a number of respects and a second closure will now heighten that pressure.
The phased nature of its initial return, beginning with limited tee time capacity for members only and without revenue-raising potential through green fees, open competitions, shop sales or catering meant that clubs were required to operate their facilities without any revenue streams to support the significant ongoing maintenance requirement.
Notwithstanding this, the level of compliance with the Covid-19 Protocol had been extremely high, however many golf clubs and facilities will be facing serious financial difficulties as the global pandemic continues. The R&A launched a Covid-19 Support Fund earlier this year with the aim of assisting National Associations in GB&I to support their affiliated clubs. Golf Ireland was responsible for administering a funding package of £555,000.
The application process has now been completed in Ireland, using a criteria that targeted small to medium sized clubs and specifically those that could showcase immediate financial need. Of the clubs that applied for funding, 96% of clubs were successful in their applications. Clubs who were successful in their application will receive a grant, ranging in value, and have met specific criteria including the following:
- The club is eligible for relief from income tax and corporation tax for clubs under the exemptions provided for Games/Sporting bodies in ROI and clubs registered under the Registration of Clubs Act in NI.
- The club is member owned.
- The club is in urgent need of The R&A funding in order continue to provide facilities for the normal playing of the game for their members and visitors.
- The club has no entrance fee or an entrance fee of less than €1,500/£1,500.
- The club’s membership income is lower than €600,000/£535,00 and/or green fee/society revenue is lower that €100,000/£90,000 as reported in the clubs 2019 financial statements.
- The club does not provide a financial return to stakeholders/owners.
- The club’s subscriptions are paid up to date for 2020 to both the GUI & ILGU.
Clubs successful in their application for funding must commit to signing the Women in Golf Charter and create an implementation plan to achieve the gold standard within an agreed timeline. In addition clubs must be compliant in all safeguarding regulations and will receive a safeguarding audit.
Mark Kennelly, CEO of Golf Ireland said: ‘‘Covid-19 has significantly impacted all areas of our society, sport and golf are no different. We are extremely grateful for the on-going support of The R&A throughout this turbulent period. While there are challenges ahead for golf, the funding supports made possible by The R&A will help those clubs most in need at this time. Clubs have demonstrated a need for this funding which will assist them in recruiting and retaining members while also ensuring appropriate safety procedures are in place at their facilities”.
“The R&A Covid-19 Support Fund will enable clubs to invest in areas which will make them more sustainable. Investment will be made to the way services are provided to club members and guests including to online platforms and/or facilities that will ensure the safety of all going forward.”
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “The pandemic is continuing to have an impact on the day-to-day operations of golf clubs and many of them have suffered loss of income due to circumstances not in their control. We have a responsibility to help protect golf from the effects of this crisis where we can and so we hope that our Covid-19 Support Fund will allow affiliated national associations to support clubs in dealing with the challenges of the pandemic and begin the process of recovery.”