The Club King
For now, the de Savary club empire is thriving. The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle has more than 600 members from 29 countries. De Savary poured $25 million into restoring the castle, building the new golf courses and generally establishing the framework for his club chain. The annual fee is about $5,000 a year, plus the normal daily use fees. Cherokee Plantation is a slightly different concept; it’s designed for just 25 members with a buy-in of $1.9 million; the 4,000-acre site, which is equidistant between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the most historic locations in the South.
“We are in the early days. But we are dedicated to building great clubs rather than running a business to make as much money as possible,” says de Savary. “My interest is obviously to have a reasonable business investment for the risk and the effort and the deployment of capital, but to try to create something that down the road in years to come is a bit of legacy.”
And, along the way, to enjoy a few cigars.