The K Club is to move into new ownership after businessman Michael Smurfit confirmed he is selling the golf resort.
The 550-acre Straffan estate, which includes a 134-bed five-star hotel and two championship golf courses, will come into the ownership of Michael Fetherston, the Dublin-based operator of the TLC nursing homes group, after a deal was struck for approximately €70m.
The K Club was the venue for the 2006 Ryder Cup — the first time the competition was staged in Ireland — when Europe thumped the USA 18½ to 9½ points under the captaincy of Ian Woosnam.
It also played host to the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and was the venue for a number of years of the Smurfit European Open, which got underway in 1995. Tournament highlights included Darren Clarke hitting a course record round of 60 in 1999, before going on to take the title at the venue two years later, while in 2004 Retief Goosen won at the K Club just a fortnight ahead of taking the US Open for the second time.
Those successes were synonymous with the Smurfit brand, but Michael Smurfit has said it is now “time to move on”. He told The Irish Times: “Since opening in 1991, The K Club has and continues to be an incredible source of pride for my family, its members and its wonderful team.
“There is always a time to move on. I firmly believe that the K Club’s long-term interests are better served under a new owner and [Mr Fetherston] is uniquely placed to build on the heritage and success of The K Club.”
The K Club had been on the market since last year and owners Bishopscourt had been seeking offers of around €80m. The deal is expected to close in early 2020.
For his part, Fetherston said he had bought a “unique and iconic asset”. “We are excited by the opportunities presented and we will build on The K Club’s unparalleled reputation as both a hotel and as a golf resort,” he said.