Distinction For Stoke Park

The Leading Golf Courses of Europe (LGCE), a corporation representing some of the continent’s most distinctive clubs, has gained its first English member.

The latest high-profile club to join the Zurich-based ‘umbrella’ organisation is the 300-acre, five-star Stoke Park, in Buckinghamshire, which possesses 27 Harry Colt-designed holes of golf and a 49-room five-AA red-star hotel.

The introduction of Stoke Park means LGCE now has 13 member countries, which, in turn, have nearly 40 individual member clubs, including Monte Rei, Turnberry Resort and Thracian Cliffs.

With its 100-year-plus history and outstanding facilities the Stoke Poges-based club was an ideal candidate to become the first English member, as Claus Feldt, general manager of LGCE, explained.

“We are all familiar with Stoke Park’s frontage from its inclusion in the classic golf scene in the James Bond film Goldfinger,” said Felt.

“It is iconic and the rest of the estate is equally as refined – it is the ideal first English member for LGCE and we believe there are a number of similarly luxurious properties in England which would also benefit from membership. Indeed, we are talking with several at the moment.”

Founded in 1908, Stoke Park hosted the first PGA Matchplay tournament in 1910 and now offers a combination of the traditions of an exclusive club and the best of today’s sporting, leisure, entertaining and hotel facilities in one of the most convenient locations in Britain: only 35 minutes from London and just seven miles from Heathrow Airport.

In addition to golf and the hotel, it features three restaurants and bars – including the three AA rosette, fine dining Humphry’s; 10 private rooms for conferences and entertaining, and indoor teaching for golf and tennis; 13 tennis courts – indoor, artificial clay and grass; 11-treatment-room spa and nail bar; indoor swimming pool; 4,000ft2 gymnasium, with more than 50 classes a week; a creche; games room; and a playground.

Stuart Collier, Stoke Park’s director of golf, added: “We are delighted that we are leading the way in England with our membership of LGCE. The benefits of membership are clear and it is reassuring to know that golfers across Europe are able to determine immediately the quality of our venue simply because we have the stamp of approval from LGCE.”

The idea of a Leading Golf Courses union was born in Austria, and was quickly copied in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The creation of a European ‘umbrella’ association was a natural progression and it was inaugurated in 2012. It has since established itself as the leading European quality certification group, aiming to offer travelling golfers in Europe with peace of mind and a stamp of quality assurance.