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Great Britain Castletown gets a new owner

by Robert J. Vasilak

An ancient, historic golf club on the Isle of Man has found a deep-pocketed owner who promises to move its 18-hole course up the ranks of the United Kingdom’s top 100.

The new owner is Philip Vermeulen, a South African investor who’s said to own a home on the island and, now, arguably its most famous golf property: Castletown Golf Club in Derbyhaven, which has been in business since 1892, originally with a course designed by Old Tom Morris. The track, one of nine courses on the island, was redesigned in the late 1920s by Philip Mackenzie Ross, a Scottish architect who’s probably best known for creating the Ailsa Course at the Turnberry resort in Ayr, Scotland.

Castletown’s captain, Steve McGowan, told the Isle of Man Courier that Vermuelen plans to “improve the club and invest money,” and a real estate agent involved in the sale said Vermuelen expects to make a “major investment in new facilities” that will take the course “higher in the top 100 listing.”

What Vermeulen didn’t buy (at least not yet) is what the newspaper calls “the dilapidated and long-closed” hotel that complements the club, but it’s hard to imagine him operating Castletown as a stand-alone entity. The hotel is in the hands of receivers.

Some of the material in this post originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of the World Edition of the Golf Course Report.

source: Golf Inc.