Members of London-based Wentworth Golf Club, are reportedly ready to start a lawsuit against the club’s Chinese owners, the Reignwood Group (Chinese: 华彬集团).
It is said that a top local law firm has been employed to challenge the Beijing-based property development conglomerate, over its plans to slash membership numbers and dramatically hike joining fees.
The club, home to the annual PGA tournament, was bought by the Reignwood founder, Chinese-Thai entrepreneur Chanchai Ruayrungruang, for £135m in 2014.
Last year, the club’s members were told that, from April 2017, the membership will be reduced from 4,000 to 800, and that those invited to rejoin the club would be charged a one-off “debenture” of £100,000.
In addition to this, the annual fees are set to rise from £8,000 to £16,000 and new members will be asked to pay £125,000 to join, instead of the current fee of £15,000. Members and residents claim Reignwood want to turn the club into an exclusive enclave for the mega-rich, “many of whom won’t live full-time on the estate or in the UK”.
Proofread by John Devlin