Work is underway on the third loop of nine holes at the prestigious and multi-award-winning Stoke Park Country Club & Hotel, in Buckinghamshire, to complete a three-year renovation of the 27-hole course.
The owners of Stoke Park, the King family, will have overseen a complete overhaul of the award-winning venue across three successive winters, with the work carried out on the Colt (holes one to nine) and Alison (holes 10 to 18) courses reopened to much acclaim in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Work commenced recently on holes 19 to 27, the Lane Jackson course, with an anticipated official opening date of April 20 – although members will receive exclusive access in a series of nine-hole competitions on April 13, 14 and 15.
The renovation and reshaping of the first 18 holes has been well received by golfers and industry figures alike and it is hoped the Lane Jackson work will be welcomed in a similar vein. The Lane Jackson course – named after the creator of the Stoke Park Club, Nick ‘Pa’ Lane Jackson – dates originally from 1927 and much of it was turned over to farmland during World War II, for the essential purpose of growing potatoes, with golfers not even permitted to enter to retrieve balls.
The loop of holes was subsequently not fully restored until 1998, under the auspices of the King family, which took possession of the estate a decade earlier.
Stoke Park’s director of golf, Stuart Collier, explained: “The work on the Lane Jackson course is the culmination of a three-year plan of improvements and enhancements to the golf courses. The bunkers needed to be re-visualised and rebuilt in keeping with Colt’s original concept, but also to ensure they are suitable for play in the 21st century.
“The first two nines look stunning and play really well – and this final winter of work will also improve the final nine holes in a similar way.”
Recently voted the number one golf resort in England, in the inaugural Golf World ‘Top 100 Resorts in UK & Ireland’ ranking, the historic Stoke Park – one of just two five-AA Red Star golf clubs in England – boasts 27 Harry Colt-designed holes and a thriving golf club with around 850 members. Its numerous facilities include a state-of-the-art health club, spa and pool, 13 tennis courts, and three restaurants and bars, including the three AA rosette fine dining Humphry’s.
Set within 300 acres of mid-19th century Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown-landscaped parkland, in Stoke Poges, Bucks, Stoke Park is only 35 minutes from London and seven miles from Heathrow Airport.
The historic land on which it stands is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and the celebrated course played host to the PGA Matchplay in 1910 and, even more famously, the golf match between Sean Connery’s James Bond and Auric Goldfinger, in the 1964 film, Goldfinger.
About Stoke Park Country Club
- Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel is one of just two five-AA Red Star golf clubs in England. The land that constitutes the estate is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.
- Laid out across 300 acres of mid-19th century, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown-landscaped parkland, the 27-hole golf course was designed by the legendary Harry Colt and opened in 1908 and comprises:
- The Colt course (holes one to nine): The seventh hole was the inspiration for the original 16th at Augusta National, home of the US Masters, before the latter was amended in the 1940s. Augusta designer Alister MacKenzie (1870-1934) a partner in the short-lived practice of Colt, MacKenzie & Alison.
- The Alison Course (holes 10-18): Holes 17 and 18 on the Alison – the second of the nine-hole loops to be renovated, in winter 2016/17 – featured in a classic cinematic exchange in 1964, between Sean Connery’s James Bond and the eponymous super-villain Auric Goldfinger. Their round of golf ended in front of the iconic clubhouse – purportedly ‘Royal St Mark’s’ golf club – which itself dates from the late 18th century and has featured in many other films including Layer Cake, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Wimbledon.
- NOTE: The iconic still from Goldfinger, which shows Bond and Oddjob looking on in front of the clubhouse as Goldfinger putts out, is owned by Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel and may be available for editorial use in features about the venue.
- The Lane Jackson course (holes 19-27): Holes 19 to 27 – which will be upgraded in winter 2017/18 – were turned over to potato fields during World War II and were not fully restored to use as a ‘Colt’ golf course until 1998. The nine-hole loop is named after the creator of the Stoke Park Club, Nick ‘Pa’ Lane Jackson (1849-1937), who also launched the famous Corinthian Football Club. Hole 21 features the much photographed Repton Bridge, which takes its name from the gardener, Humphry Repton, who picked up the mantle at Stoke Park from ‘Capability’ Brown.
- Practice facilities: The striking monument at the bottom of Stoke Park’s practice area is of Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), a former Solicitor General and speaker of the House of Commons, who was a tenant on the estate from 1598. He was the country’s first Chief Justice and, as Attorney General, tried Guy Fawkes and Sir Walter Raleigh, among many others.
- Check out Stoke Park on video here.