Par for the course as Anglo hunts golf balls


FORMER EXECUTIVES at Anglo Irish Bank were either exceptionally bad golfers or remarkably generous to their customers.

An examination by Anglo’s new management team of past spending at the bank found that €208,000 was spent on golf balls and €218,000 on golf umbrellas over a three-year period. However, the new team have found just 1,000 golf balls left out of about 125,000 bought over that time.

Anglo chief executive Mike Aynsley has begun searching for the missing balls, sources said.

The inquiry into past expenditure on promotional items and paraphernalia, which was undertaken to reduce costs, uncovered total spending of €1.38 million, mostly on golf items and events.

Some €1.13 million of this fell in Anglo’s financial years to September 2006 and 2007, covering the peak Celtic Tiger years, while €232,000 was spent in 2008.

Anglo hosted golf events as part of its corporate entertainment to manage relations with its biggest clients and to woo new customers.

Figures seen by The Irish Times show that Anglo spent €100,000 on golf rain clothing, €66,000 on sports bags, €24,000 on golf bags and €23,000 on golf “wind-tops”.

Some €33,000 was spent on jumpers, €31,000 on polo shirts and €7,000 on T-shirts.

A further €155,000 went on “miscellaneous” golf expenditure, while €59,000 was spent on events relating to the Ryder Cup, which was held at the K Club in Co Kildare in September 2006.

Some €103,000 was spent on annual golf days over three years.

Between 2005 and 2008 Anglo brought its biggest US customers on annual weekend golf trips to Ireland in June, hiring a private jet to fly the customers transatlantic to play courses in Co Clare and Co Kerry. The event was also attended by key development customers of the bank in Ireland.

Anglo also had corporate memberships at golf clubs, including Druids Glen in Co Wicklow.

The promotional expenditure also included €16,500 on iPods.

In addition to the remaining golf balls, Anglo still has 2,000 umbrellas, 600 baseball caps and 300 branded hand stress balls.