Kohler Co. Purchases Famed Resort in Scotland

Kohler Co. has acquired the Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa in St. Andrews, Scotland, along with Golf Resorts International (GRI), Limited. With this purchase, Kohler Co. will own and operate the Old Course Hotel, the nearby Dukes Golf Course, as well as the spa and two full-service restaurants located within the hotel.

Swilken Holdings was not involved in the purchase of the property as was previously announced. Jonathan Thornton, who directed the sale for the Kosaido Company of Japan and whose GRI managed the hotel operations for the last 19 years “looks back with appreciation for the opportunity to have managed a hotel of such stature.”

“For years, as our fledgling skills have grown in the hospitality industry, we have looked nationally and internationally for an opportunity to expand our resort business,” said Herbert V. Kohler, Chairman, CEO and President of the Kohler Co. “Five weeks ago this opportunity was brought to our attention. It looks like we found the perfect fit.”

The Old Course Hotel is situated on the 17th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews, perhaps the most famous hole in golf. The Old Course, accepted as the birthplace of golf more than six centuries ago, has been the site of 26 British Opens and will host The 2005 Open. The Old Course, as well as the other five golf courses comprising St. Andrews Links, is managed and maintained by St. Andrews Links Trust.

“A respect for history and authenticity are hallmarks of the Kohler brand. There isn’t a better location to showcase quietly our mission of providing a higher level of gracious living for those who are touched by our products and services,” said Alice Edland, group executive for Hospitality and Real Estate at Kohler Co. “There is an opportunity to upgrade and expand the hotel along with its spa through the integration of some of our world famous products and services. The Dukes Course grounds will also be evaluated to determine possible renovation opportunities including the historic Creighton mansion, something too beautiful not to make full use of.”

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Kohler Co. began to develop its resort business in the United States 23 years ago with the restoration of The American Club hotel in 1981. Destination Kohler today consists of two hotels and spas, 10 restaurants, and four championship golf courses, which trade media generally consider one of the two best golf resorts in the U.S. It recently hosted the 2004 PGA Championship, won by Vijay Singh.
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