INCOME from visiting players at Royal Portrush Golf Club rose to over £2m last year.
The figure is around double what the club might have expected before regaining the prestigious role of Open Championship venue.
An 18-hole round of the iconic Dunluce links, which will host the tournament in July, cost visiting golfers £205 last summer.
It's understood around three quarters of those who paid full fees were from the United States.
This year, as the course undergoes intensive preparation, tee-off opportunities are restricted to April and May and visitors will be obliged to play off mats to protect the fairways.
When it opens again to the public on July 25, green fees will have risen to £220 , in line with other Open venues
Much of the extra income derived from the club's leap in status has gone into improving the course, the clubhouse and the general welcome to visitors.
Construction of two new holes was a crucial factor in getting the club back on the Open Championship rota, along with less significant overall upgrades to the course
The old 17th and 18th holes on flat land close to the clubhouse have been removed to allow space for the ever expanding tented village that now accompanies the Open Championship.
The new holes – the 7th and 8th – are “absolutely stunning creations that fit seamlessly into the routing,” according a Golf Monthly review.
The club says the Open Championship announcement brought a “tsunami” of demand from players eager to experience the same links as the world's top professionals.
A spokesperson said: “Revenue form green fees helps sustain Royal Portrush Golf Club and the jobs of its 80 -90 employees.”
*For more on this see this week's Coleraine Chronicle.