Members of the Wimbledon Park golf club have voted overwhelmingly in favour of selling the club to the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
The sale enables the AELTC to expand their world-famous tennis tournament, The Championships, across the road to the land currently occupied by the golf club at the start of 2022.
Chairman of the AELTC, Phillip Brook, said: “The decision of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club members to vote in favour of the acquisition offer is a hugely significant moment for the AELTC and the Championships. We have achieved what we set out to do many months ago in having certainty in our planning for the future.”
The members of the golf club voted 82% in favour of the £65million sale, which will see each member receive £85,000, concluding the AELTC’s decade-long battle to purchase the land.
The acquisition will allow them to host the qualification rounds of the British Open on the same site, which are currently held in Roehampton, three miles away from the tennis club.
Members of the golf club include Piers Morgan, Dec Donnelly, Ant McPartlin and Lord Gus O’Donnel, the former cabinet secretary, but were not seen at the vote in-person due to the venue being too small to host all 760 members.
Martin Sumpton, a member of the golf club for more than 30 years, said while speaking to Guardian: “120 years of playing golf at Wimbledon Park has ended because of greed. People wanted to take the money, and that’s hardly surprising. It is a lot of money. But it is a very, very sad day for the history of golf and the future of Wimbledon Park.”
Martin was the only member to speak out against the sale of the club during a meeting of the members of the club.
The AELTC already owned the lease to the land the golf club occupies and were due to reclaim the land in 2041. This sale sees that accelerate by 20 years, with the final ball due to be hit on the course on the 31st December 2021.