- Wentworth has been bought by Chanchai Ruayrungruang for £140 million.
- Chinese investor to set joining fee at £125,000.
- Members prepare for showdown with management on December 6.
The Chinese owner, who is reportedly worth £6.6 Billion, plans to hike the joining fee from £15,000 to £125,000 and will double annual membership from £8,000 to £16,000.
You might be thinking cry me a river – golf’s richest members will have to pay more to be part of an already elite club, Boo hoo! Houses on the Wentworth Estate sell for an average price of $7.5 million, according to the local newspaper, the Surrey Advertiser.
The change in ownership will mean that around 300 of the 1,100 the families living on the estate will no longer be able to become members. Can you imagine buying a property next to a golf course you intend to spend your life playing only to see that opportunity disappear? You would be furious.
“No matter the status of Wentworth members, what’s being done to them is just wrong. All members have already paid a joining fee, currently $23,000, and are now being told they have to pay another joining fee to stay in the club,” Writes Alistair Tait for Golf Week.
Private golf clubs exist all over the world and their fangled appearance fascinates golf fans everywhere. We expect these predominantly old, bold and male dominated fortresses to move slowly with the times and and keep their doors closed to 99% of people.
But until recently anyone could play Wentworth and it didn’t matter who you were or how many properties you owned, if you wanted a go you could have one. The new management will prevent casual visitors from getting on the course and plan to cut membership so only 800 of the world’s richest people will be allowed to enjoy 48 holes of legendary golf. It’s like the metamorphosis of a butterfly into a slug when a historic golf course goes from public to private. F*** you Chanchai!
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday , Sir Michael Parkinson, said: “Golf has suffered from accusations of elitism and snobbery and this is a very backward step.”
The members are set to meet with Ruayrungruang on December 6 and from all accounts it will be a showdown of epic proportions. He has refused to meet anyone but will have to show face at this extraordinary members meeting. Lets hope the very wealthy can persuade the super wealthy that this course should not become an enclave for billionaires.
Again, F*** you Chenchai!