The Wentworth Residents Association has launched a formal legal challenge against Reignwood, the Chinese conglomerate owner of the Surrey club.
In October 2015, the new owners announced they would be charging members a £100,000 debenture share in order to retain their membership, which was described by members as a “cull” in order to attract “ultra high net worth” individuals.
Some 4,000 members will be reapplying for 800 membership places, and on top of the debenture share they will have to pay £16,000 a year.
The Wentworth Residents Association says a plan by the smart Surrey club to demand they buy a newly introduce £100,000 debenture and pay annual fees doubled to £16,000 breaches long-standing legal deeds and trusts relating to the course.
The WRA said it and Reignwood, which bought the exclusive club in September 2014, had have been negotiating over the past month but they have been unable to come to a satisfactory agreement.
WRA chairman Eric Leon said: “It is an absolute tragedy that the situation remains so antagonistic whereas a fair and reasonable solution could easily have been found. We have made proposals for a membership scheme that does not alienate the vast majority of existing resident members but the club appears to reject our principles outright.
“It has become plainly clear that the club lacks the support of many existing members – who are already leaving in their droves – and that Reignwood appears intent on clearing out the membership, restricting accessibility to the club even to many of its fellow residents and thereby changing the character of a great golfing institution. We will continue through every means to convince Reignwood to reconsider its actions.”