That is the view of Templer Park Country Club managing director Datuk Manibalan Kutty, the movement control order (MCO), enforced by the authorities, has left golf courses around the country closed and has had “a big impact” on the industry.
“Operating a golf course does not give you a chunky profit margin but a decent balance to cover the overheads and survive. But now the entire industry is at a standstill and it will take a long time to recovery.
“Golf, not being listed as an essential service within the MCO, is facing a crisis with regards to maintenance of the courses. Grass, just like any other living thing, needs to be fed but this is not happening with the MCO. Grass needs sunlight, sufficient water and nutrition to grow and with the current MCO, it is tough on us, especially when there isn’t much rain.
“Our (Templer Park) golf course currently is not in a very presentable condition, but the greens and crucial areas are managing okay. The course will be brought back to normal, but definitely at a cost.”
Commenting on the stimulus packages unveiled by Government, Manibalan added: “I must say that this will definitely benefit the golf clubs, as well as its retail industry.
“The main benefits will obviously be the wages subsidy that will lessen the financial burden of golf clubs. And those clubs that have debts with the banks, they may also apply for the moratorium which could help them with their cashflows.
“Likewise, the reduction of 25% on the employment levy will further assist on a tight cash flow. Other packages introduced could be applied, depending on the needs of a particular club.”
Speaking on the long-term, Manibalan said: “I think this will be worse than what we faced in 1997 and 2008. The impact of this pandemic will be felt over a period of time.
“The way I look at it, this is a pandemic of which no one has a solution. It has forced most businesses to close and we are not sure for how much longer.”
In conclusion, Manibalan said: “We must be appreciative as golf course owners. The Government waivered or at least gave clubs a discount on their quit rent and assessment and this is a hefty expense incurred by the golf clubs that many people are not aware of.”
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