Golf Club Holdings the UK based owner and operator of golf clubs, has announced that Jeff Chapman, an Australian media entrepreneur, has taken a 60% stake in the company. Chapman who founded Sportsworld Media plc, a company quoted on the London Stock Exchange, recently sold his stake in the media giant for over £75m. He has ambitious plans for GCH, which currently runs a group of eight golf clubs many of them recently acquired.
In 1999 Golf Club Holdings had an excellent year in terms of portfolio growth. They acquired Penkridge Golf Club in Staffordshire (now re-named The Chase) and Wickham Park just north of Fareham in Hampshire. They also took control of the newly opened Ecclestone Park near Prescot, Merseyside. Golf Club Holdings then sold The Lambourne Club between Maidenhead and Slough to the investor consortium (including Bill Gates) which owns the upmarket Cliveden Hotel nearby. GCH has continued to operate The Lambourne Club under a management contract which expires at the end of this year after which management of the club will revert to its new owners.
The other golf clubs owned by GCH are Batchworth Park in Rickmansworth, South Winchester in Hampshire, The Vale Golf and Country Club in Worcestershire and Vale Royal Abbey in Cheshire.
Under the new deal, Golf Club Holdings will be renamed Crown Sports plc. The long-term strategy of the company is to develop a group of sports related assets and expansion opportunities are already under negotiation. New diverse revenue streams and best business practices will help establish Crown Sports plc as one of the leading leisure operators.
“GCH is an excellent company,” said Jeff Chapman, “and provides a strong foundation of assets, revenue and profits on which we aim to build a large, broadly based sports and leisure business”.