Saturday 17 April 2021
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.theguardian - 2 month ago

The rich v the very very rich: the rebellion at Wentworth golf club

When a Chinese billionaire bought one of Britain’s most prestigious golf clubs in 2015, dentists and estate agents were confronted with the unsentimental force of globalised capital Like all exiles, Michael Fleming remembers when his separation from home soil began: 20 October 2015, a Tuesday. That year, Fleming was captain of Wentworth, an old, prestigious golf club in north-west Surrey. The club had recently been bought by a Chinese firm, Reignwood Consulting Ltd, and an annual general meeting was scheduled for the 20th. On that morning, having already drafted his speech, Fleming was in his dentistry clinic when he received the email.Brace for change, Wentworth wrote to Fleming and his colleagues, outlining its planned announcements at the AGM: a wild increase in membership fees and the number of members drained from about 4,000 to just a few hundred. A “barmy” decision, Michael Parkinson, the chatshow host and a longtime member, had told the Mail on Sunday, which had scooped the details two days earlier. Peter Alliss, the BBC golf commentator, complained that Reignwood was “bringing an Asian philosophy to Britain”. Fleming, whose manner is so mild it’s hard to ever imagine him yelling “Fore”, was shocked. He began rewriting his speech. Continue reading...

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