South Shore Country Club Faces Challenging Times
By Greg Lane, Published: July 15, 2020
Golfer putting on green [Hingham Current News File Photo / Greg Lane]
The South Shore Country Club (SSCC), once a mainstay in Hingham, has fallen on tough times, and the financial picture is grim due to COVID-19.
The Country Club Management Committee learned on Monday that the SSCCs operating loss from the last fiscal year, Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) which runs from July 2019 through June 2020, could be as much as $50,000. The Committee is now looking for ways to keep the SSCC above water and mitigate the shortfall in revenues.
It’s an uphill battle. Interest in charity events and tournaments has diminished. The bowling alley won't open until September because there are no Hingham Recreation Department camps this summer, and the pool is closed indefinitely. Even restaurant revenues are down.
Executive Director Kevin Whalen is waiting for the final expenses to be tallied before closing the books on FY20, but he is encouraged by revenues from May and June. “We’ve pivoted,” said Whalen to the Committee. "We are doing everything we can to bring in revenue and live within our means.” The fiscal year closed on June 30th, and gross revenue is estimated to be down by about 15%.
In response to these challenges, SSCC has begun offering more golf lessons and ladies' nights, and the amount of time between tee times has been shortened. They have also reduced overhead, including making significant cuts to payroll. It’s a shift in the way the SSCC has operated in the past, but they have little choice. A reserve fund transfer from the Town has also helped to plug the hole as it has done in past years when the SSCC has overextended itself.
Currently the SSCC has been operating at 85-90% capacity during the month of July, and the Committee expects revenues to reflect that. Whalen cautioned Committee members that financial projections for Fiscal Year 2021, which began on July 1st, may need to be adjusted to account for yet another year of anticipated losses.
While Whalen has a full plate juggling multi-million dollar pool and maintenance building construction projects that were recently approved at Town Meeting, he remains positive. “We are very fortunate that golf is one of the activities that people can still get out and do," he said.
Christine Smith, Chair of the Country Club Management Committee which is responsible for the oversight of the SSCC, has been contacted with a request for comment, and this story will be updated with her remarks once they have been received.
Country Club Management Committee members (appointed by Selectmen):
Christine Smith, Chair
John J. Bailey