“Membership will be invitation-only and targeted at… people who do not live in Scotland.”
No, it’s not an advertisement for some form of clandestine anti-Alex Salmond political party, but a line extracted from Golf Club Management magazine which last weekend provided details of ‘Britain’s most expensive golf club’.
However, even with the kilted ones excluded from the mailing list of potential new members (the course is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016), Midlands-based golfers need not concern themselves that they’ve missed delivery of a gold leaf-edged envelope displaying a St Andrews postmark.
Granted, there are plenty of folks around these parts who could afford the reported £200,000 joining fee, but the newly created St Andrews International Golf Club intends inviting only “super-rich foreigners” to join. I suspect that excludes the English.
The SAIGC will be the only private members’ golf club at the “home of golf”, a compelling strapline likely to appeal to those with more money than sense, for it’s a little-known fact that most of Scotland’s major courses are, in fact, municipal ones.
Work on the construction of what will be an 19-hole golf course on the 245-acre former farmland site is well under way. When complete, it will have cost £25 million to construct. A full-length nineteenth hole is being created (known as a bye hole) in order that matches that end all-square on the 18th may be settled, although not everyone is enamoured with the idea of another large Scottish course. Chief among the opponents is the Scottish Golf Union, which suggests there are far too many of these golfing beasts dotted around the Highlands to meet demand. But the site’s owners, Scotia Investments LP, intend limiting membership to 500.
Assuming only half of those joining the SAIGC fork out £200,000 to collect their elite ‘Glamis’ membership card, the immediate gross return will amount to £50 million. If the other half who prefer limited ‘Ross’ membership benefits, spend a mere £75,000, then the club’s owners will generate a further £18.75 million. Annual subscriptions, on top of the joining fees, are expected to be £5,000. Not surprisingly, fees of this magnitude will make St Andrews International Golf Club the most expensive in British golf history.