The R&A reports a strong financial performance, including increased support for golf development projects, and a new focus on the Asia-Pacific region in its 2006 Annual Review published today.
Operating profit for the year to 31 December 2006 stood firm at £9.1m (£9.1m) after increased grants totalling £2.9m (£2.3m) were awarded to external golf development bodies. The surplus was again taken to reserves to ensure continuity in The R&A’s global governance role at no cost to the sport.
Also, at the year-end, The R&A’s founding club, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, made the last in a series of asset allocations to The R&A Foundation, taking its net assets to £13.3m (£11.4m). The Foundation made increased awards in the year totalling £1.6m (£1.4m) to golf-related educational programmes.
More work in the Asia-Pacific region is reported where The R&A has its first regional director in post and where initiatives such as an agreed programme with the China Golf Association to train over 100 new Chinese golf referees is underway.
Commenting on the year under review R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said, “The Open at Hoylake was both a great Championship and a strong commercial success. We forecast £50m in golf development funding and other governance benefits for the game, by the end of the decade, when we adopted corporate ownership structures in 2004 and we will deliver on this ahead of time.
“Our golf development funding totalled £4.5m (£3.7m) in 2006 and our governance contribution to the sport is valued at a further £4m (£3.8m) for the year.’’
Highlights of 2006 included:
- The Open returned to Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake after a gap of 39 years and attracted almost 230,000 spectators, including 20,000 under 16s.
- Tiger Woods achieved the first back-to-back wins since Tom Watson in 1983 and declared the event to be one of the greatest championships ever staged.
- 57 broadcasters aired Open Championship coverage, reaching 410m households in 162 territories and making The Open one of the world’s largest annual televised sports events.
- R&A governance contribution to the sport reached £4m (£3.7m): Rulemaking £2.5m (£2.4m), Championships support £1m (£1.1m) and sustainable course management funding £0.5m (£0.3m).
- National Golfing bodies in Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, the Caribbean and Jordan affiliated to The R&A taking the number of counties that host R&A Affiliates to almost 120.
- R&A Equipment Test Centre opened on the St Andrews Links and submissions of new clubs from manufacturers to test for conformity to The Rules increased by a third to over 1,000 pieces.
- R&A Rules Schools are staged in Chile, Guatemala, Peru, Poland and Japan in the year and the annual Referees School in St Andrews attracted 80 delegates from 38 countries.
- Landmark R&A referee training programme agreed with The China Golf Association to train and accredit new Rules officials in China: 100 primary and intermediate level by autumn 2007, 60 national level Rules officials by the end of 2007 and two international referees by February 2008.
- The biennial Junior Open attracted 100 players (boys and girls, 12-16 years) from 61 countries.
- Support for the Faldo Series in Europe and Asia reached £110,000, in annual funding, split 70:30 in favour of the Asian Series.
- Support for university golf programmes exceeded £250,000 in annual funding, covering 13 institutions from St Andrews to Pretoria and over 50 individual student golfers, including reigning US Amateur Champion Richie Ramsay and Icelandic Women’s Champion Helena Arnadottir.
- 1,000 sets of TaylorMade Kids Clubs were sent to developing golf nations including Botswana, Croatia, Honduras, India, Rwanda, Tanzania and Trinidad & Tobago.
- R&A support for the grassroots development work of The Golf Foundation reached £600,000 in annual funding.
- R&A best practice website – www.bestcourseforgolf.org – that promotes sustainable golf course management in five languages has become an active community of over 2000 club and course managers, greenkeepers, agronomists and environmentalists.
- R&A completed the restoration of what is believed to be the oldest golf match on film, dating back to 1898, the challenge match between Open Champions Willie Park and Willie Fernie.
The R&A 2006 Annual Review can be read or downloaded from www.randa.org and abbreviated accounts will be available later this year on request and from Companies House