The biggest merger in golf club history could happen in New Zealand

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham November 4, 2014 11:09

Two major New Zealand golf clubs are in discussions about joining forces with each other in a deal that will comfortably be the biggest golf club merger in history.

The new golf club would be worth more than £48 million – more than twice the value of the proposed Peninsula-Kingswood Country Club in Australia, a potential merger between two leading clubs, and significantly more than what the merger between Royal Norwich Golf Club and Weston Park Golf Club will be worth in England in a few years.


New Zealand prime minister John Key, a member at Royal Auckland Golf Club

As in the UK, New Zealand golf clubs have seen a sharp decline in membership numbers in recent years and many have struggled with economic pressures.

Two of the country’s leading venues, The Grange Golf Club and Royal Auckland Golf Club, which counts Prime Minister John Key as a member, have been in discussions about a merger.

Under a proposal before both clubs, the courses would be merged into one 27-hole course designed by Nicklaus Design Group with a short game facility, with part of The Grange sold.

A majority of Royal Auckland members voted against a merger last year but some have stated that they are happier with the new plan, as they would like new land.

The New Zealand Herald reported that members of The Grange were more in favour of the merger because the land at their course was ‘poor’, but there were issues concerning members at the club.

‘An ex-Grange member complained the terms of the deal were unfair because Royal Auckland stood to get the Grange’s $40 million [£20 million] course for paying off only a meagre $2.2 million [£1.07 million] Grange bank debt,’ stated the paper.

One Grange member is quoted as saying: “The Royal wants the Grange course but not actually its members, because they’re far too snooty.”

Royal Auckland members are largely European while The Grange had many Asian golfers, he said.

Complained another disgruntled member: “The Grange gets only three out of 12 members on to the committee of the new club so it’s more akin to a takeover.”


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham November 4, 2014 11:09
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