Cash crisis hits Loch Lomond

02 November 2008 Respond to this article

Cash crisis hits Loch Lomond

2nd November 2008

Loch Lomond Golf Club nows faces uncertain future after it went into the hands of a US firm of business recovery specialists. It is one of Scotland's most exclusive golf clubs - the home of the Scottish Open - whose members include Prince Andrew and Sir Sean Connery.   But Loch Lomond Golf Club was facing an uncertain future last night after it went into the hands of a US firm of business recovery specialists amid financial problems. The move came after its Arizona-based owner Lyle Anderson failed to renegotiate his debts with the Bank of Scotland.

Anderson will co-operate with the bank in finding new owners for the exclusive club.

The venue, which hosts the Scottish Open, also recently held the £1m wedding of golfer Colin Montgomerie and his new wife Gaynor. Other celebrities to have played its course include Clint Eastwood and Robbie Williams.

Its 700-strong membership is thought to include no more than 100 UK members, each paying fees of up to £40,000.

Among them are Rangers boss Walter Smith and assistant Ally McCoist, the milk company brothers Robert and Alan Wiseman and the former advertising agency boss and Dunfermline Building Society chairman Jim Faulds.

In a letter to members, Anderson said: "I am confident the Bank shares my view that Loch Lomond Golf Club is one of a kind in the world.

"I have explored many alternatives, including restructured loan arrangements and potential sources and terms for additional equity. Regrettably, I have been unable to conclude arrangements for a restructured credit facility with the Bank and have been unable to raise new equity or debt.

"Under the current circumstances, I concluded that it is significantly more beneficial to the club, its members, employees and the local community, to take a co-operative approach with the bank, designed to avoid disruption to ongoing operations at the club and to facilitate change of ownership at the appropriate time. I have agreed to fully co-operate with this process."

Anderson added that he is pursuing his own "vigorous independent search for new equity or debt funding for the communities and clubs."

The revelation is the latest setback to Anderson's ambitious leisure developments. His plans for a 140-acre park, including golf course and housing in Hawaii, also in conjunction with Bank of Scotland, was held up earlier this year over funding concerns. One source claimed Anderson may owe the bank "hundreds of millions".

One member at Loch Lomond told Scotland on Sunday that the letter from Anderson was the first communication they had received since rumours began sweeping the clubhouse in recent weeks.

Speculation about new owners may now focus on the Middle East.
  From: Scotsman by Terry Murden