Management of the Wentworth golf club are handicapped by some marketing incompetence, it seems.
Late last year Reignwood, the Surrey club’s Chinese owners, announced it wanted to reduce the number of members from 4,000 to 888 – a number considered lucky in China – and impose a £100,000 re-joining fee on the ones who wanted to come back, this reportedly to finance a large loan the company had taken out and a £20 million bill for urgent improvements to the course and clubhouse.
Interestingly some of the idea worked in that members resigned in disgust to join other clubs but the bit about paying £100,000 to come back was much less successful. So much so that the top types in Wentworth management, after hasty consultation with their very rich paymasters in Beijing, did a swift U-turn and scrapped the greedy exploitation of current members. Focus has now moved to the annual membership fees, which are doubling from £8,000 to £16,000, and joining fees for new members which have been set at £125,000, up £110,000 from £15,000.