BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) _ With Curtis Strange's victory in the 1988 U.S. Open, hosting the 72-hole tournament proved to be a huge public relations success but left The Country Club more than $600,000 in the red.

According to the latest financial statement, dated Sept. 30, it cost the exclusive club in suburban Boston $9.85 million to host the Open, but revenue amounted to $9.21 million, a difference of $644,572 that could top $1 million if some revenue accounts remain uncollected.

The Country Club underwent a major course reconstruction, guided by architect Rees Jones, three years before the tournament was held.

It not only improved the playing conditions, the course also received a $1 million state-of-the-art irrigation system, a new maintenance buildiing, a barn, roads and equipment.

But while some members have criticized a dues increase of around $500, the first in three years, the U.S. Golf Association has called this year's Open the biggest money maker in recent memory.

''I don't think we've ever done so well,'' said Rick Skyzinski, a spokesman for the USGA, in an interview with The Boston Globe.

''There may have been more tickets sold at other U.S. Opens, and at other Opens there may have been more hospitality tents, but for the prices tickets and hospitality tents went for in Boston, we did very well.''

The price of tickets to the Open were $145, while hospitality tents were $100,000, with the USGA receiving a percentage from both along with all television revenues.

Skyzinski said he was surprised that The Country Club had declared a loss.

''But figures can be deceiving,'' Skyzinski said. ''It depends on what you charge off to the U.S. Open account. They underwent an extensive course reconstruction.''

Skyzinski said the rebuilding project left TCC with a course ''that ranks among the top 50 in the world.''

As for complaints about the first dues increase in three years, one unidentified member of the club's U.S. Open committee said it was inevitable.

''Everybody thought we were going to make a huge pot of gold and there would never be any more dues,'' he told the Globe. ''That was unrealistic.''