Oct 10th, 2017
Judas Priest star's golf dream in tatters
Breakin' the lawyers... breakin' the lawyers...
Words: Tim Southwell Styling: GolfPunk
KK Downing, the Judas Priest guitarist and 12-handicap golf addict, ploughed his millions into turning his Shropshire estate into a luxury golf resort.
His dream of one day bringing the Open Championship to The Astbury course was in tatters last night, however, after the 320-acre estate collapsed into administration and immediately was put up for sale with an asking price of more than £10 million.
Maybe he should have seen it coming. Judas Priest (who sold more than 50 million records worldwide) themselves prophetically predicted this very event in the lyrics to their massive 1980 hit Breakin The Law:
"There I was completely wasted, out of work and down
All inside it's so frustrating as I drift from town to town
Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die
So I might as well begin to put some action in my life.... I'm gonna buy me a golf course and build a load of posh houses on it.... Make me some honest cash out of the Shrophire countryside and have a sit down with the R&A and get them to bring The Open to my gaff... etc etc...."
(Can we get on with the actual story now?! – Ed)
The news comes a year and a half after Downing bought out his Birmingham-based partners, stating at the time that he was planning to build a leisure resort around his countryside golf course.
The guitarist's vision for the the three-hundred-and-twenty-acre estate included forty holiday homes, a hotel, spa and another nine-hole course.
Administrators from FRP Advisory blamed "tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market," which had put "unsustainable pressure on the cashflow of the estate under its current financial structure."
In a 2009 interview with Shropshire Magazine, Downing admitted that it could be odd coming back to sleepy Shropshire after touring the world with the Priest.
"It is weird," he said. "I've been going and coming from this place all my life and every time it's like it's reinventing itself. I have to reintroduce myself to everything. I go to the cupboard and say, I'm sure I bought some sugar — where is it?'"
Regarding his decision to buy a house not too far from his Midlands roots, Downing said: "It became common sense to buy a property of your own and a few of us acquired homes in the south of Spain.
"I came here in 1985 — a long time. It was the house really that I liked. Before I came here I had a tiny semi in Bloxwich as my first house, but the deal was that there was bus stop outside it, and when we started doing Top Of The Pops in the late '70s, people used to get off the bus and walk up the garden path for an autograph."
Downing shot down as "inaccurate" reports that he left Judas Priest in 2010 because he chose to concentrate on running the golf courses on his property.
Let's hope they can sort it all out and get the place back on track.