Wentworth debenture plans scrapped

imageThe Chinese owners of one of Britain’s most prestigious golf clubs have shelved plans to reduce the number of members by hugely increasing fees.
The Beijing-based Reignwood group wanted to cut membership at Wentworth in Surrey from 4,000 to 900 to make it the most exclusive club in the world.
It was to charge existing members a £100,000 debenture and increase annual subscriptions from £8,000 to £16,000.
Now the club has said existing members will not have to pay the new debenture.
Residents of the neighbouring Wentworth Estate, where houses can cost many millions, will also get reduced rates.
The club announced in October it would be charging existing members £100,000 and new joiners £125,000.
The planned charges led to a bitter dispute between golfers and Reignwood, who bought the club for £135m in 2014.

Club members and Wentworth Estate residents threatened legal action against the proposals which they said would fundamentally change its nature and character.
Residents also threatened to block roads during the European Tour’s PGA championship, held at the course every year.
Eric Leon, from Wentworth Residents’ Association, said local people, who own the estate’s private roads and verges, were not all multi-millionaires and could not afford the inflated fees.
Wentworth Club said the “membership update” followed a number of meetings between members, residents and Songhua Ni, president of Reignwood.
He said: “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 golf and country club.”
Reignwood said it would be investing £20m into the club and golf courses by December 2018, with the first stage of the upgrade beginning in June after this year’s PGA Championship.

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