£4.2m allocated to help NI Clubs; RCD receives £1.5m


Royal County Down - Kevin Markham

Sport Northern Ireland has announced the allocation of £4.2m in funding for golf clubs as part of the Northern Ireland Sports Sustainability Fund. The fund’s purpose is to help address the economic consequences of the Covid-19 health pandemic effecting the sports sector. It aims to provide the financial interventions needed to stabilise and withstand the worst impacts of Covid-19.

Eligible sports clubs were invited to apply for funding, via the National Governing Bodies, at the end of 2020 and to be considered for funding, applicants must have met the criteria and conditions set out by Sport NI. Applications closed in January 2021 and Sport NI then began the process of verifying the applications received. It has been confirmed that 26 golf clubs will now receive funding.

Mark Kennelly, Chief Executive of Golf Ireland said: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe financial impact on golf clubs which, despite being closed for long periods over the last 12 months, have significant costs to bear in maintaining facilities and the courses themselves.


“Golf Ireland is committed to supporting its affiliated clubs in every way we can, and we are delighted that this funding has been secured for clubs in Northern Ireland. A total of 26 clubs will receive funding from this scheme in addition to 145 clubs who benefitted from Sport Ireland Resilience Funding in the Republic of Ireland. Additionally, we hope that several more will benefit from Fáilte Ireland’s Business Continuity Fund in the near future.

“I’d like to express our thanks to The NI Executive, Department of Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey for the funding and to Sport Northern Ireland for considering the submissions that Golf Ireland made on behalf of golf clubs. Their response underlines the vital role of golf in our sports landscape.”

Applications included submission of club accounts which were used to calculate an average over 3 years and were open to any club who could demonstrate that there had been a direct impact on its business because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Initial club applications were adjusted, following direction from Sport NI to remove any VAT Refund or Corporation Tax payments that impacted upon the amount to be claimed.



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8 responses to “£4.2m allocated to help NI Clubs; RCD receives £1.5m”

  1. Darren avatar

    Personally I think it’s disgusting that the 2 big ‘Royal’ clubs received over £2.2M between them because they didn’t have a steady stream of wealthy foreigners prepared to pay hundreds of pounds for a round – the visitor fees in previous years alone ran to millions of pounds while most other golf clubs would be lucky to have a million pound turnover. In addition, both clubs have had major tournaments held on them in the past few years which no doubt was a major money spinner. The money should have been distributed evenly among all member owned clubs as there wasn’t a club not affected by COVID in some way.

    1. Paul avatar

      Couldn’t agree more Darren, rich clubs getting richer, whereas our club tightened the purse strings over the last year just to keep afloat and we didn’t get a penny. Something very wrong about how this has been managed.

      1. Darren avatar

        Absolutely – I also noticed Malone received over £300k. They’re in the heat of the most exclusive area in Belfast and if you want to join be prepare to write a cheque for over £6k for year 1, no shortage of dough, and like you my home club has had to have a year of austerity also just to stay in the black (if they’ve even managed to do that)

  2. Paul straffan avatar
    Paul straffan

    Totally agree. Kennelly of golf Ireland states their commitment to helping affiliated clubs . Absolute nonsense. Another case of them trying to take credit where it is NOT due.

    1. Darren avatar

      I wonder if Irish Golfer will do a follow up piece that looks at how the grants were allocated. For me, that only 26 clubs in the whole of Northern Ireland were eligible says that the eligibility criteria was flawed in the first place.

  3. Darren avatar

    Ok so I’ve done the numbers – there are about 100 courses in NI, so only a quarter received funding, of that quarter 70% of the money went to 4 clubs – RCD, RPGC, Malone and Holywood got a quarter of a million despite Rory giving them a similar amount a couple of years ago to develop the club facilities. Sickening….

  4. Joe Campbell avatar
    Joe Campbell

    I agree….the cornerstone of golf in N. Ireland is the smaller club who provide sport and facilities for all in their community…to be ignored in respect of the bigger clubs is disgraceful.

  5. John avatar

    This definitely has to be looked at ,What criteria was used to determine what clubs could get a grant? A few big clubs with loads of foreign visitors missing from the list

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