Friday, October 22, 2004

Kohler buys Old Course Hotel

Found this in the Scotsman -- interesting, given Kohler's home run at Whistling Straits.

New owner's plans for Duke's Course

HERB Kohler, the owner of Whistling Straits, the links-style course in Wisconsin where Vijay Singh won the US PGA Championship in August, yesterday promised to oversee far-reaching changes to the Duke’s Course over the next three years after completing the purchase of the Old Course hotel in St Andrews.

Although the American businessman would not disclose the fee paid for the hotel and nearby golf course, the price is thought to be about £35million.

Kohler intends to spend the next three years assessing and improving both the hotel and course, designed by former Open champion Peter Thomson.

The man behind the most spectacular new course in America told Scottish golf writers that he liked six of the holes on the Duke’s but felt the other 12 need to be "tweaked".

He plans to give Thomson the first refusal to implement any changes. The American has long been friendly with Pete Dye, the architect who designed Whistling Straits.

"We only found out the hotel was available five days after the PGA," said Kohler. "I’ve been to St Andrews seven or eight times and love the place. I particularly like the Old Course hotel.

"When I heard of the opportunity, I jumped. The Duke’s needs to be tweaked and once that’s happened we’d love to have a big event there."

Contrary to earlier reports, which suggested the purchase was made in partnership with Swilken Holdings, Kohler revealed he’d bought the Old Course hotel on his own.


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