St Andrews Links Trust posts £3.7m profits in strong return from lockdown losses
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Its newly published annual report revealed a £3.7m profit for 2022 after losses of £11.1m across 2020 and 2021 when international travel was severely hit by pandemic restrictions. Visitor numbers to the Home of Golf also returned to pre-lockdown levels with income of £33.2m even outstripping the £29.2m recorded in 2019.
This success was mirrored across all areas of the trust - which employs some 350 people - with golf, retail and food and drink all benefitting from an uptick in visitor income throughout last year. The report came on the back of hosting the landmark 150th Open championship which drew huge crowds to the Kingdom of Fife, and was won by Cameron Smith of Australia.
Neil Coulson, chief executive, welcomed the figures after weathering the challenges posed by the global pandemic.
He said: “While 2022 began with significant uncertainty amid talk of new Covid strains, the lifting of travel restrictions in April set us on the path to begin our recovery following the two most difficult years in the history of the Trust.
“The return to pre-Covid income levels underlines the important balance between welcoming international visitors to the Home of Golf and looking after our yearly ticket holders both in St Andrews and beyond. I am delighted with how our dedicated staff coped with the transition from operations of the previous two years to the sudden return of high demand across the Links.”He continued: “As a business, we were able to achieve so much in 2022 including the historic hosting of the 150th Open. It is a testament to our staff and all of our stakeholders that the year was such a success, and to our visitors whose desire to visit the Home of Golf remained undimmed throughout.”
In total 254,298 rounds of golf were played across the seven courses at St Andrews Links during 2022 with around 50 per cent of these by visitors. The remainder were played by yearly ticket holders, who pay an annual fee for playing rights at St Andrews Links. Last year saw a fixed fee rise of £100 to support the financial recovery of the trust.
Added Mr Coulson: “While 2023 has undoubtedly brought some different challenges as we have dealt with unprecedented demand, the outlook for St Andrews Links is positive with the team here determined to continue our recovery and to deliver on the ambition maximise and reinvest income back into the Links to enhance the experience we provide.”
The charitable trust, which is set to mark its 50th anniversary in 2024, exists to manage, maintain and preserve the golf courses and facilities on behalf of the people of St Andrews and the golfers who visit. Profit from commercial activities is reinvested back into the Links.
It manages a number of additional facilities including three clubhouses, a golf academy and four shops. More than 250,000 rounds are played over the seven courses attracting visitors from around the world.