British MP steps in over golf fees

British MP Philip Hammond described Reignwood's plans as "very disappointing." Photo / Mark Mitchell
British MP Philip Hammond described Reignwood's plans as "very disappointing." Photo / Mark Mitchell

British MP Philip Hammond has intervened in a longstanding row between the Chinese owners of Wentworth golf club and its members following a row over price hikes.

Long-time members of the Surrey-based golf club have accused the new Chinese owners of using an eye-watering fee hike to get rid of them and turn the club into a preserve of the global ultra-rich.

The dispute has caused diplomatic ripples, with interventions from the Foreign Secretary, who represents the local area in Parliament, and from the Chinese embassy in London.

The Beijing-based property and investment firm Reignwood Group bought Wentworth in 2014.

They were looking to raise 100,000 ($222,500) from members to remain part of the club by doubling maximum annual fees to 16,000.

Hammond, writing in his capacity as the area's MP, described Reignwood's plans as "very disappointing" in a letter to a club member. He has met twice with disgruntled Wentworth members and once with Reignwood representatives to discuss the dispute.

The club says it plans to invest an initial 20 million to improve facilities as it tries to make Wentworth "the world's premier private golf and country club".

- Daily Mail

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