Golfer sues one of world’s most exclusive clubs claiming he was kicked out for playing too often

November 14, 2019
A look at the Old Course at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.

A golfer has filed a lawsuit against one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world alleging he was kicked out for playing too often.

According to The Times, John Cawood, 72, is suing Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England, claiming the storied club revoked his membership for allegedly playing more than 30 times per year. (Some clubs have caps limiting how often members can play.)

Sunningdale did not immediately respond to GOLF.com’s request for comment.

The club reportedly costs £60,000 to join — about $77,000 U.S. dollars — and as a retired lawyer from Australia, Cawood was paying a discounted overseas price for his annual membership dues. But in 2011, The Times reports other members started to complain that he was playing too often, so the club increased his annual membership fee to the standard £3,750, roughly three times more than what he was paying before. When the issue came up again a few years later the club revoked his membership in 2015.

“The club has a perceived idea that I play regularly over 30 times, but it’s not true,” Cawood said in court on Tuesday, according to The Times. “The last time I played over 30 rounds was in 2006, and I paid a pro-rata rate per game.”

Cawood, who reportedly joined Sunningdale in 1997 and would stay in the UK for about three months a year, is seeking damages and wants to be reinstated as a member. His hearing will continue on Thursday.

Sunningdale, which was established in 1900, is located about 30 miles southwest of London and has several celebrity members. It’s hosted the Senior Open, Women’s British Open, British Masters and the Walker Cup. Its Old Course ranked 31st on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World list from 2017-18, and the New Course was ranked 80th.