Luttrellstown Castle has become the latest high-profile casualty of the economic downturn, reports The Irish Times, and the five-star golf resort in Dublin, owned by leading Irish businessmen JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks, will close at the end of 2009.
The newspaper reports Luttrellstown chief executive Colm Hannon as saying, “It is true, Luttrellstown is closing and we have advised the committee and our members. There has been a significant shortfall and losses have been incurred since we opened. Going forward we do not see the situation changing. It is very regrettable but running a golf course at Luttrellstown is no longer sustainable.”
The 560-acre estate, formerly owned by the Guinness family, was sold to the Primwest Group in 1983 before it was more recently bought over by McManus, Magnier and Brooks in 2006.
Last year major redevelopment work costing over €20 million was completed at Luttrellstown, including major upgrade work to the championship golf course plus a complete redesign of the alpine style clubhouse.
Luttrellstown’s demise has come about because of the inability to drive membership numbers up and increase green fee revenue.
“The whole business of membership has dried up and the problem we have at Luttrellstown is we don‘t have a critical mass of members,” added Hannon.
“We have fewer than 400 members. A lot of the problem is linked to the current financial situation in a wider context. And basically there’s not a sufficient number of people out there seeking to buy golf membership
“The amount people are prepared to pay for golf is very different from what it was before. We changed the structure over to an annual membership because we believed the days of people paying €40-50,000 entrance fees are long gone.”
Hannon confirmed they will be running the business until the end of next year as “there is an obligation to the members to give them 12 months notice.”
Mr Hannon said the current owners have no plans to sell the estate.
Luttrellstown Castle Resort www.luttrellstowncastleresort.com