Cake by the Ocean*

Kevin Markham

Arklow Outdoor Dining

A survey was circulated to golf clubs last year to assess the economic impact of the pandemic. Initiated by the GUI and ILGU, the data collated was then presented to the governments north and south. This data helped in the early return of golf during the first phases of reopening. It also provided a platform for the creation of the Covid-19 Club Resilience Fund, which was introduced by the Government and implemented by Sport Ireland and the national governing bodies.

A sum of €2.8 million was allocated for Republic of Ireland clubs directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund’s goal is to provide short-term financial help to golf clubs, support business resilience and future sustainability post COVID-19.

This was then divided up between the 145 clubs that successfully applied for funds – up to a maximum of €25,000. One of those 145 clubs is Arklow Golf Club. Here’s a Q&A on how the grant came about and what it is for.

  1. What made you decide to apply for a grant? 
    The availability of grant funding for golf clubs during these difficult times is very welcome. When we read the grant criteria we felt that our dining terrace project cost would be in the region of the maximum award amount. Outdoor dining is very topical at the moment in the COVID-19 pandemic. For us at Arklow Golf Club, it was the right grant at the right time for the right project – everything aligned. We understood how important this grant was for our club and with that in mind decided to make the best application we could and commissioned the designer to provide 3D images of the design to include with the application.
  2. How easy/awkward was it to make the application?
    Very straightforward
  3. What sparked the idea to develop these outdoor dining facilities? 

The original idea came up in 2016 when a group of members were working on a five-year strategic plan with Gordon Campbell from Golf Ireland. We have a fabulous but under-utilised area outside the Clubhouse dining room. This area has a magnificent elevated view of the course and overlooks the 18th green. Back in 2016, the Club wasn’t in great financial shape and the idea progressed no further. The only way this development was ever going to happen was if external funding became available, so until the Golf Resilience Fund was announced, it remained a pipedream.

4. Who in the club was involved in making the application? 
Club Secretary Paul Murphy and Office Manager Tracey O’Donovan.

5. When do you receive the funds?
We assume when the work is complete. It’s something for us to follow up.

6. When do you hope to start and when do you hope to open it? 
The Tender pack was issued w/c 15 March, with the plan to award the contract in early April. We hope to have it completed by mid-May. Official opening probably at President’s Prize on June Bank Holiday Weekend.

7. Tell us a little bit about what the facilities are and how it will work in the general ebb and flow of members and visitors moving around the clubhouse.
The facility is an outdoor split level dining terrace with landscaping. Members and visitors will be able to access the dining terrace without entering the Clubhouse – thereby minimising footfall through the clubhouse. If finances allow, maybe next year we will add a practice putting green beside the dining terrace. This new development should help with member recruitment and retention, increase bar and food revenue and bring new opportunities for hiring out this space for BBQs, parties, small weddings, family and corporate events.

8. What’s the reaction from members? 
The reaction from the members has been very positive. The 3D render by the designer was most helpful in this regard.

* Cake by the Ocean was the debut single by DNCE, and released in 2015. It was the second most played song in Canada in 2016, and a worldwide hit.

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