Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel, one of just two five-AA Red Star golf clubs in England, was awarded the title of ‘best newcomer’ when the World of Leading Golf (WLG) announced its 2015 award winners in a ceremony at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club.
WLG is an association representing many of the best-known and most highly regarded golf venues in almost 20 countries, and it handed out six awards, recognising the very best of the best among its membership.
And Stoke Park took the award for ‘best newcomer’ much to the delight of director of golf Stuart Collier. He said: “We joined WLG last year and it’s the results from then. It’s great to have that recognition. We’re already in a great, select group of clubs in a fantastic network, and to be recognised as the leading club to have come in is tremendous.
“We can only win ‘best newcomer’ once so, for 2016, we have to set our sights on one of the other five awards and the competition is very fierce. WLG members are, by design, high-performing, prestigious clubs – that’s the raison d’être of the association; the best of the best, as it were. So we need to maintain our high levels of service across every spectrum, from sales and food and beverage, to course condition and golf operations.
“I want to be back here next year collecting another award on behalf of Stoke Park and to do that we can’t afford any let-up at all.”
WLG’s chief executive Claus Feldt, who was present to hand out the ‘gongs’ to the award winners, said: “Merely to gain membership to the association, clubs have to meet stringent quality criteria, so to win an award in such illustrious company is quite an achievement.
“It’s been a great pleasure to be able to celebrate our members in this way and I’ve enjoyed being part of the judging panel. Congratulations to every single winner.”
The awards are decided partially by mystery shopper tests undertaken by WLG partner 59club – the industry leader in measuring and analysing customer-service levels for golf venues – and, in part, by representatives of WLG.
Feldt added: “59club is the market leader in establishing and analysing all objective data, but our awards also recognise the subjective, which is important to our members. So, wherever applicable, we also take into account things like ambience, enjoyment and aspiration.”
WLG and its member clubs are passionately committed to preserve golf culture, but not only by heeding to such things as rules, dress code and etiquette; they commit to the very highest of quality standards concerning the design and caretaking of golf courses and services, as well as the levels of ambiance and gastronomy.
Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel is one of just two five-AA Red Star golf clubs in England and the historic land on which it stands is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Stoke Park also took two awards at the annual 59club Service Excellence Awards presented on the same evening: ‘golf sales team of the year’, and a coveted ‘gold flag’, in recognition of consistently high scores in mystery shopper visits and calls.
The historic course at Stoke Park, laid out by legendary designer Harry Colt in 1908, 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.
The first nine holes, the Colt, will reopen next month after undergoing some minor design changes to both bunker shape and size during the winter months. The first people to experience the new-look nine will be the club’s thriving 800-strong membership.
World of Leading Golf www.world-of-leading-golf.com
Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel www.stokepark.com