Global Edition

Comprehensive Report on Irish Golf

9.35am 18th November 2010 - Management Topics

Ian Duffy, FGS Partner

The findings of the first comprehensive research report into the Irish golf industry will be presented at a conference entitled ‘Road to Recovery – Golf Business Conference’ on Friday, 19 November at the National Convention Centre, Dublin.

The research undertaken in summer 2010 by FGS and Carr Golf Services, in conjunction with the Golf Union of Ireland and the Ladies Golf Union of Ireland, creates a clearly defined picture of the current status of the golf industry in Ireland and identifies opportunities for its survival and growth.

It is clear that golf in Ireland has been a significant growth industry over the past 15 years driven through substantial investment resulting in a world class national sporting infrastructure. However, the industry does face major challenges given the decline in the number of golfing tourists visiting Irish golf courses coupled with the current economic downturn.

The golf research report focuses on the key areas of efficiency, overcapacity, sustainability and marketing. The data collected indicates that course maintenance (40%) is the largest cost centre facing Irish golf clubs. This suggests that there is a significant scope to attain future savings by moving towards a model based around outsourcing. Outsourced course maintenance can be up to 30% less expensive than the in house equivalent.

The research findings also show that there is a significant amount of debt in the Irish golf industry especially amongst newer clubs who would have made large capital investments in the last 10-15 years. Almost 3 out of every 4 golf clubs in Ireland made capital investments over the past 3 years.

According to Ian Duffy, FGS Partner, Corporate Turnaround & Change Management ‘many golf clubs need help in developing a business turnaround plan that will addresses strategic deficiencies and operational ineffectiveness. According to our research, less than 2 in every 3 golf clubs had a strategic plan in place for 2009, of those golf clubs that did have a strategic plan, 64% of them saw their membership numbers increase.’

He added that ‘the Irish golfing industry has the capacity to support up to 23m rounds of golf in a given year, however, the analysis shows that a maximum of 13.3m rounds were actually played in 2009 suggesting that the level of under-utilisation is close to 42%. As a result, stakeholders from across the golfing industry need to work together to consider new and innovative approaches and possibly consider a programme of consolidation.’

Irish and international key figures from the golf, business, and tourism sectors will offer direction for the golf industry by providing ideas, initiatives and solutions at the conference as to what golf clubs must do to get on ‘the road to recovery’, supported by practical insights on how to manage and grow a golf business.

Speakers on the day will include: Dermot Desmond, Chairman IIU, Declan Taite, FGS Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency Partner, Ian Duffy, FGS Corporate Turnaround and Change Management, Buddy Darby, CEO Kiawah Partners/Doonbeg Golf Club, Marty Carr, CEO Carr Golf Group & GCMS, Mark Nolan, CEO Dromoland Castle Golf/Castlemartyr Hotel & Golf Club, Frank Bowen, Golf Union of Ireland, Sinead Heraty, Irish Ladies Golf Union, Keith McCormack, Marketing Director, Failte Ireland, Mike Lasoulat – Executive VP Sales, Golf Channel Solutions and Roddy Carr – CEO Solheim Cup 2011.

The conference will be of particular interest to golf club owners, golf club managers, hotel owners with golf clubs attached, financial, legal and business advisers to the golf industry.

Some tickets are still available for the conference tomorrow; to book please visit

There are more than 430 golf clubs across the 32 counties of Ireland alongside a cumulative membership of approximately 250,000 persons. Put simply, this means that one in every 25 people in Ireland is currently a golf club member and these figures exclude those non-members who play infrequently.

Golf in Ireland gives rise to employment of approximately 8,000 persons (both full and part-time) as well as significant indirect employment in associated industries such as machinery sales and rental, horticulture and construction.


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