Shock as Brocket Hall enters administration

Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham April 9, 2015 11:45

One of England’s premier golf clubs, Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, has entered administration.

The shock news comes just a year after the golf club announced it was spending nearly half a million pounds on buying a new fleet of golf buggies and greenkeeping machinery, refurbishing its changing room facilities and redecorating its restaurant. Also in the last 18 months the club has formed a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur and appointed model Jodie Kidd to develop its ladies’ golf section.

Now that the venue’s operator, Brocket Hall International (BHI), is in administration, the lease for the historic estate, including the Auberge du Lac restaurant, is up for sale.

The administrators have stated that the move has come after a “protracted period of poor trading” which led to financial difficulties for the business.

The 543-acre estate, the one-time home of former British prime minister Lord Palmerston, comprises a golf club centred around two courses, an 18th century stately home with meeting rooms, a conference suite, dining rooms and 46 guest rooms, and the five-star restaurant.

Lord Brocket owns the freehold of the estate but placed the lease into the hands of a board of trustees when he was jailed over an insurance scam in the 1990s. The lease was then passed to BHI, which incurred a net loss of over £1m for its last accounting period, with net liabilities of nearly £1.9m.

Its move into administration was precipitated by a winding-up petition from HMRC.

The administrator said it would honour all bookings and deposits, and that golf club membership was unaffected. It will work alongside experienced industry operator, John Weir, of Cornerstone Golf, to ensure continuity.

Peter Holder, joint administrator from AlixPartners Services UK LLP, said: “Brocket Hall and its magnificent grounds represents a fantastic opportunity in the luxury hospitality and leisure sector. We are confident there will be a significant number of interested parties in acquiring this truly unique and historic estate. We would also like to go on record and thank the staff for their continued support and professionalism during this process.”


Martyn Clapham
By Martyn Clapham April 9, 2015 11:45
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  1. Tim Allman April 14, 11:39

    As an add-on to BB’s comment, I considered entering my daughter into their junior open, but at £40 to play it’s one of the most expensive ones I found when planning this summer’s events

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  2. Bob Braban April 9, 19:43

    A shock that a venue like this and one located so near London should fail, but it’s certainly not one of Britain’s premier golf clubs. It’s two fairly average courses demand fees that are far too high for their quality and any genuine golfer is aware that there are several courses within a radius of twenty five miles that offer a far better golfing experience at a fraction of the price. As a corporate venue it offers a prestige name, but one that came to prominence more for burying Ferrari’s than for golf. There will be buyers I’m sure, but they will have to change the way they do business or they will not compete in the new market.
    Bob Braban –

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    • John McAndrew April 27, 21:26

      Bob, I’ve played some of the finest golf courses in the world. The Palmerston is a good course. The Melbourne is a bit quirky and tight, but an outstanding scenic course. They are both far better than average. John Mc A

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      • Bob Braban April 28, 08:27

        Hi John,
        I agree that they are quite scenic and in 50 years of playing in some 20 countries I have come to the view that, with a couple of exceptions, there is really no such thing as a bad golf course. Every course has its virtues and there are sometimes things that are irksome, generally from the way the courses are run or maintained. I did enjoy playing at Brockett Hall (except for one occasions when the rain sheeted down) but when I have played other courses within reasonable proximity that have charged very much lower fee, I can honestly say that I have never stood on a tee and thought: “I’d rather be at Brockett Hall”. For the great majority of today’s golfers it comes down to value for money and there is much better value in the area.

        Bob Braban

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