London, England: After months of rumour and speculation, the purchase of The Wentworth Club by the Reignwood Group of Beijing for a price reported to be in the region of £135 million has been confirmed.
Chinese-Thai businessman Chanchai Ruayrungruang leads the privately held Reignwood Group which owns the Reignwood Centre in downtown Beijing and the Reignwood Pine Valley golf course in Changping, a 40-minute drive from the capital. The Group also has property both in China and overseas.
Featuring 54 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus, Reignwood Pine Valley includes the Reignwood Polo Club, luxury golf villas, a five-star hotel, health management and fitness centre, and a private business jet service for members.
Richard Caring, the West End restaurateur who purchased The Wentworth Club in 2004, was quoted as saying: “In Dr Chanchai and his team at Reignwood, I know Wentworth is in great hands for the next chapter in its amazing story and I look forward to staying on as Non-Executive Director.”
Dr Chanchai said: “Reignwood has a long history in golf development, a profound respect for excellence in every form and deep interest in East-West co-operation.
“As a world famous golf institution, Wentworth is a key strategic acquisition for our rapidly growing luxury lifestyle division, whose unique culture we are dedicated to preserving and whose exceptional expertise will inform our golf operations across Asia.”
British Chancellor George Osborne said: “The announcement that Reignwood Group is investing £135 million in the UK to buy Wentworth, one of our most prestigious golf clubs, demonstrates the growing relationship between our two countries.
“Strengthening co-operation between Britain and China is not only good for China, but good for UK jobs and investment too, which is why it’s a key part of our long-term economic plan.”
A senior Reignwood spokesman said he did not envisage the introduction of sweeping initial changes in the day-to-day running of the Wentworth club. He continued: “We are not planning major changes to the existing operational staff as they currently are operating in a stable state. We will, instead, provide more support to the existing staff.”
The European Tour owns the property right next door to the main Wentworth clubhouse and uses the building as its headquarters.
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