BUSINESS tycoon Eddy Shah has sold his Wiltshire Golf and Country Club near Royal Wootton Bassett, which was up for sale for £3.5million.
Former newspaper entrepreneur Shah, 68, and his wife Jennifer decided earlier this year to pass the mantle on after more than ten years living and working in the area.
In a letter to members he said: “Jennifer and I have agreed a sale of the above with the Dunkley family and it is hoped that we should complete by mid-January 2013.
“The club needs new investment, ideas and energy to take it to the next step, as is usual in the life of any business or venture.
“The new owners have a very similar vision to that of Jennifer and myself and they will lift the club and hotel to a level that will make it the best in Wiltshire.”
The couple came down to Wiltshire 12 years ago from East Anglia where they owned The Suffolk, The Norfolk and the Essex golf courses.
They bought the old 18-hole course and have since built a 58-bedroom hotel and leisure centre complete with swimming pool in the grounds.
In the following years they bought another 95 acres for another nine holes and built 50 holiday homes – spending a total of more than £5million.
Mr Shah is best known as the man who brought new technology and colour to newspapers.
After selling his newspapers 20 years ago, he got into the golf business.
He said: “When I came to this area I loved the golf course and the location. There was nothing like it in the area and we wanted to build the best club and social venue in the area.
“We now have more than 1,500 members who can play golf or use all our facilities.”
The new owners have expertise from South Africa and the UK in golf, hotels, marketing, conferences and all aspects of hospitality.
Mr Shah said: “We still have a few hurdles to jump with lawyers and others, but the Dunkley family now have the necessary funds in place to complete the purchase.
“They have spent nearly two years in the UK looking nationally for a suitable hospitality business, and have settled on The Wiltshire as the best opportunity and the best potential.
“We wish them all the best. After a long journey, and after discussions with a variety of potential purchasers, we now feel we are passing The Wiltshire into the best possible hands for the future.”
The Shahs will not be giving up work though and will continue with their eco-friendly second home business which is on the country club grounds.