An interesting news story appeared on the Golf Australia website over the weekend, confirming rumours that The National Golf Club was in discussion with a Melbourne Sandbelt club regarding a merger.
The club identified by reporter Martin Blake as The National’s chosen bedfellow was the Huntingdale Golf Club, home to the first 30 Australian Masters tournaments.
Described by Blake as a ‘merger that would create an unprecedented Super Club’, the difference between the Peninsula and Kingswood merger appears to be that both Huntingdale and, at least, the three Cape Schanck courses of The National would survive any amalgamation intact. It isn’t exactly clear what would happen long-term to The National’s Long Island course in Frankston, but it is popular and would hopefully continue under a new identity.
Interestingly, both the Masters that made Huntingdale famous and the National Golf Club itself were partly founded by the late David Inglis. Among the challenges of any merger between the clubs would be name, as we assume both Huntingdale and National members to be protective of their brand. The National’s previous union a few years ago was more a takeover than a merger, as Long Island was struggling at the time and its members were offered the ‘gift’ of becoming The National members without having to buy an equity share. It’s unlikely the Huntingdale deal would be as straight forward.
A statement from the two Club Captains released to Golf Australia included the following quotes, acknowledging that merger discussions had begun, and outlining next steps beyond an initial due diligence period and the establishment of a business case for merging.
“There are many potential benefits of a merger including the provision of an un-paralleled golfing offer which includes five championship courses and associated first-class practice facilities located across three geographical locations - all for the price of one membership fee.”
“Once these interim steps are completed, both Committees will consider the information prepared and will either approve or reject continuance of merger discussions. It is important to note that should the Committees sign-off on formal terms, the members of each club would separately vote on the agreed proposal and as such members would have the final say whether the merger proceeds or not.”
Two big Victorian clubs have begun talks over a merger that would create an unprecedented ‘Super Club’.
The National, which has three courses at Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula plus one near Frankston just south of Melbourne, has begun talks with Huntingdale Golf Club, a jewel of the Melbourne sandbelt and longtime host of the Australian Masters.
If the merger went ahead – and it is subject to a vote of both existing clubs – it would create a club with five world class courses, and by far the biggest club in Australia.
The National has been proactive before in growing its facilities. It merged with Long Island Country Club in 2015 to create the current 72-hole facility, giving members a playing option closer to Melbourne.
Rumours have existed for some time that the club wanted to form a partnership with a Melbourne club to complete the set, so to speak.
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