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
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 theres 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.
Its 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 dont 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 worlds 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 worlds 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!