The R&A has announced that almost €600,000 has been awarded in grants to support the 110 clubs in Ireland that successfully applied for help from its Covid-19 support fund.
Since its return, golf had been under immense pressure in a number of respects and the current second wave of closures 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, with a total of €596,550 given out in non-repayable grants.
In order to qualify for the grant, clubs must be member-owned, eligible for relief from income tax and corporation tax, and be in urgent need of funding in order continue to provide playing facilities. 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”.
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.”