• Reignwood aim to introduce a £100,000 joining fee
• Annual fees will also double from £8,000 to £16,000
The ongoing battle between the owners of Wentworth and the club’s members over the alarming rise in joining and annual fees has reached boiling point with members threatening legal action over their plans.
Reignwood, who bought the Surrey golf resort for £135m, wants to reduce the number of members from 4,000 to 800 and plan to do this by charging a one-off payment of £100,000, with annual fees doubling from £8,000 to £16,000.
An article in the Telegraph said a legal letter was sent last week by members, who have clubbed together to fund an attempt to get the Chinese owners to back down, describing the changes as ‘unacceptable’ and adding that ‘it must cease’.
"Reignwood appears intent on clearing out the membership" - Eric Leon
Eric Leon, chairman of the Wentworth Residents Association, told the Telegraph: “It is an absolute tragedy that the situation remains so antagonistic when a fair and reasonable solution could easily have been found.
“Reignwood appears intent on clearing out the membership, restricting accessibility to the club and thereby changing the character of a great golfing institution.”
But the club themselves believe they are in their right to go ahead with the planned changes to its membership.
“Wentworth Club has undertaken an extensive legal review of the proposed membership structure, together with various legal and professional advisers, including seeking the opinion of Queen’s Counsel, which has confirmed that based on the available evidence it is able to proceed with the revised structure,” a club spokesman told the Telegraph.
Reignwood, headed by founder Dr Chanchai Ruayrungruang, bought Wentworth in September 2014 and at the time, said purchasing the 1953 Ryder Cup venue was a ‘key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division’.
Wentworth is home to the headquarters of the European Tour and its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, with the Tour likely to be put in a difficult position should the changes be approved.
Wentworth :: Your thoughts
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