English Golf Courses

Stoke Park's clubhouse recognized

Famous Buckinghamshire building - and Bond movie set - is named the fifth most iconic of its kind in the world

By ECG Newsdesk

Goldfinder owned it. Daniel Craig was shot on its steps. Now, the golf clubhouse at Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel in Buckinghamshire has been named the fifth most iconic clubhouse in world golf.

Golf.com, the online presence of leading US publication Golf Magazine, published its list of the ‘18 most iconic clubhouses in golf’, with Stoke Park coming in at No.5 - the highest ranked clubhouse in England.

DAZZLING

Not surprisingly, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews took top spot. The next three were all US-based clubhouses: Augusta National, the hill-top structure at Shinnecock Hills, and the ‘English scholastic-style’ Winged Foot. This means that Stoke Park is the highest-ranked club not to have hosted a major championship.

Described in 1910 by the legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin as ‘a gorgeous palace, a dazzling vision of white stone, of steps and terraces and cupolas’, Stoke Park’s clubhouse was designed by James Wyatt, a member of the Royal Academy, who, in 1772, at the age of 26, found himself as the country’s most fashionable architect, after designing the Pantheon, in London’s Oxford Street.

Wyatt was commissioned to design Stoke Park’s striking ‘palace’ by then resident of the estate John Penn, grandson of William Penn Jnr, who founded Pennsylvania, in the USA.

Work began on the building in 1789, at a location suggested previously to Penn’s forebears by, among others, the great landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who had laid out the estate’s parkland in 1750.

It remained a ‘home’ until 1908, when new owner Nick ‘Pa’ Lane Jackson - who gives his name to the third loop of nine holes at the venue - formed the Stoke Park Club and took on an initial 50-year lease. Within eight months, he had overseen the conversion of the lower floor into a golf clubhouse.

It has since provided the backdrop for a number of movies made by nearby Pinewood Studios, including the 1964 James Bond classic Goldfinger, inset, the 2004 crime thriller Layer Cake, which starred soon-to-be-Bond Daniel Craig, and the 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary.

INCLUSIVE

Director of golf at Stoke Park, Stuart Collier, said: “It is a real honour for us to be recognisedin this way as the most iconic clubhouse in England and number five in the world. It is great testament to the work undertaken on the building by the King family since they took possession in 1993, when it was unrecognisable from its current glory.

“We may have the most iconic clubhouse in England but we’re inclusive, too. We have a thriving membership - both men and ladies - an excellent and successful scholarship programme for our top juniors; and visitor green fees from just £85. It’s nice that in England, at least, ‘iconic’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘unattainable’.”

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