Wentworth backs down in membership dispute

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 18, 2016 16:04

Reignwood Group, the owner of Wentworth Club, has backed down in the extraordinary dispute with members in which they were told they would have to pay a £100,000 debenture and more than three quarters of them would be culled.

In a joint statement with Stephen Gibson, the chief executive of Wentworth Club, Reignwood spokesman Songhua Ni said he had “listened” to members. He therefore announced that all existing members could apply for a new non-debenture membership category that includes an as yet non-disclosed ‘contribution’ for capital improvements and limits for subscription rises for the next five years will be put in place.

All 2016-2017 members will be eligible for that category.

“It will mean that they continue their existing membership without the need to re-apply,” said the statement.

“Individual categories will be full, golf, tennis and health, and house and spa. Each of these categories will remain for perpetuity and are based on annual subscription only. The subscription set for each non-debenture category includes a contribution to capital investment. After that, annual subscriptions will rise with RPI for five years. Residents will benefit from discounted subscription and debenture fees.

wentworth

“Under the new membership structure the club will be offering in the region of 900 debentures, the majority of which will be family memberships, which is set to result in more than 2,000 members. Members continuing with the new alternative option will be in addition to this number.”

Stephen Gibson said: “For several months, we have been working to find the right solution to include as many current members as possible in the new vision for Wentworth Club. I believe that today’s update, alongside the new membership offers and enhancements we announced last month clearly show our commitment to our existing members and local estate residents, who are an integral part of the club’s past and our future.”

Songhua Ni added: “We have listened to a variety of differing interests from members and estate residents. We are continuing to make every effort to accommodate those, whilst focusing on our vision of making Wentworth Club the world’s premier private golf and country club.”

Chinese firm Reignwood bought the world-famous golf club in 2014 for £135 million, and announced last year that from April 2017 all current members, bar the over-75s, would have to pay a £100,000 debenture if they wanted to remain at the club. It was thought the number of available memberships would have been reduced from about 4,000 to less than 1,000. That is no longer the case now.

Reignwood will be investing in Wentworth over the next two years. The first part of this upgrade will begin in June 2016, after this year’s BMW PGA Championship. Extensive work will begin on the West Course, with the project being led by Wentworth resident Ernie Els.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 18, 2016 16:04
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1 Comment

  1. Marrky May 23, 17:00

    Hi my client I’m body guarding for this weekend is coming to watch the fantastic golf you have on show here this weekend at wentworth golf club complex. He wanted to know if he could have more security following him round the course please as he has asked me to ask for this permission if ok he will be coming Saturday and Sunday if you can email me back with any details bout this email that be most thankful many thanks

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