Thomas Lawrence, the Chairman of ‘The Finest Golf Clubs of the World’ talks to Inside the Tour editor Paul Trow about the Club; its clubs achievements to date, St Andrews and his ambitious plans for the future.

Paul Trow: Please define the concept behind your exclusive club?
 
Tom Lawrence:
First of all, it is important that people understand that we are a private members club. A luxurious private golf club and residential experience situated at the home of golf, in St Andrews, Scotland. The concept of overseas membership of a prestigious private club in Scotland is not new. In fact, I believe that people like Lyle Anderson at Loch Lomond and Peter De Savary at Skibo Castle have done a fabulous job in creating their concepts. Both provide a luxurious club atmosphere encompassing the finest residential accommodation of an old stately home, quality dining and the ability to entertain guests in a first class facility - not to mention first-rate courses. All that we have done is to take this same concept and recreate it at the ‘home of golf’ where you have over twenty fantastic courses to play.
 
 
PT: And how have you done that?
TL:
Well obviously there were enormous limitations in the fact that there were only a few buildings available and whatever anyone does there’s only a finite amount of land attached to the Old Course. In renovating the Eden Pavilion and returning it to its original use - a private clubhouse - we managed to bring back to life a famous landmark of St Andrews. In linking up with Strathtyrum House, we have the opportunity to offer a fine residential experience. It’s one of Scotland finest private houses and one of its best-kept secrets. The impressive private gates obscure the view from the road and unless someone tells you about it, you just don’t get to hear of it!
 
PT: So apart from a combination of old buildings,
what else is there?
TL:
The buildings were an essential part to enable us to create a club, which could provide a service. Like any club, we seek to provide rights and service, which heighten the experience of visiting St Andrews. For FGCW, this comes in the form of the luxury cars that meet you at the airport and bring you to the house or the pavilion, a chauffeur service that escorts you to any of the courses, formal evening dinners, which incorporate the greatest treasures Scotland has to offer. A very special atmosphere of golf tradition, the quality of the company, the bagpipes playing outside the window, some wonderful art, all supported by our host and G.M., Aubyn Stewart - Wilson.
 
PT: So what has given you the inspiration to
create this club?
TL:
One of our Board members, Dr John Reynolds, has been very instrumental in helping to model the membership on some of the finest private clubs in America. The idea and concept was sound, but it was the soft issues, which could have seen it fail. Many of our members belong to the world’s premier clubs. Human nature is such that people naturally compare things or copy great ideas. From the outset, individuals who were associated with some of the world’s most famous and respected private golf clubs were key. To name but a few, individuals such as John Arthur, Neil Hobday and Michael Yamaki brought much to the table. They know how to do things, the ways to create rules, the need for rules. I think that combining that with our own drive and determination has resulted in another great club being born!