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Royal Portrush facing 90% drop in fee income

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Shane Lowry wins the Open Championship at Royal Portrush last year

Shane Lowry wins the Open Championship at Royal Portrush last year

Shane Lowry wins the Open Championship at Royal Portrush last year

Royal Portrush may seek voluntary redundancies as one of the elite links to suffer an estimated 90% drop in green fee income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After hosting a successful Open Championship a year ago - when Shane Lowry triumphed by six strokes in front of sellout crowds - the north Antrim links was expecting more than £2m in pre-booked green fees income in 2020.

But in a letter to members, the club explained it now expects to earn around £150,000 this year and is budgeting for a £1m loss that will oblige them to make major cost savings.

"Council have decided, as a first step, to ascertain if any staff are interested in voluntary redundancy although the club would review applications based on our operating needs," the club said in a letter to members, explaining costcutting measures would be put in place.

Most of Ireland's best known, blue-chip links are expecting similar losses.

It is understood that Portmarnock Golf Club is expecting an equally dramatic drop in income this year having taken in €1.33m in subscriptions and €1.61m in green fees in 2019.

The club has written to members explaining that one way to make up for the shortfall caused by the pandemic could be the imposition of a levy of €5,000 per person, spread over three years.

Belfast Telegraph