Cork City Council will not sell the MAHON Golf Course to a private operator despite concerns over the massive membership decline, aging workforce, terrain conditions and operating costs.
Councilors expressed concern that City Hall plans to sell the course as a result of a report to the council's Environment and Recreation Committee.
The report shows that revenue generated by subscriptions to the course rose from € 305,000 in 2011 to € 249,000 in 2018.
Green fees also fell over the same period, from € 185,000 to € 108,000. The running costs of the course were reduced from € 649,000 to € 595,000, but the grants paid by the Cork City Council when it opened rose from € 159,000 in 2011 to € 238,000 last year.
Course management also faced membership reductions and an aging membership profile. The report says that a significant number of members qualify for membership at retirement age, further reducing their income.
The city council and the course management have launched initiatives in schools to attract young members.
Despite this, Valerie O'Sullivan, director of environmental services and recreation at City Hall, said the course would not be sold.
"There is absolutely no plan or discussion for this to continue as a municipal golf course. The trick is to make it work properly while still a municipal golf course and that's the process we're going to start, "she said.
Carr Golf Management was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the course and found that parts of the course were in poor condition and below industry standards. More flexible staffing levels in the summer have been recommended.
Councilor Sean Martin (FF) said that a three-year plan for the facility is needed.
"The report clearly shows the gaps and what we need to do to move forward," he said.
"Many golf courses collapsed during the recession, but I know local people who play [at Mahon] and they are happy enough.
"But we have to bite the bullet and come up with a three-year plan outlining how we are going to maintain this golf course and see what funding is available locally or nationally.
"We need a lot more flexibility in the way we work on the golf course," he added.
Ms. O'Sullivan stated that the other municipal golf courses would be reviewed and their operation would be carried out. The results would be reported to the Environment Committee in the coming months.
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