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Combining golf with gourmet cuisine at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, UK

The last time I played golf at Stoke Park, I was only able to play four of the middle nine holes dues to a visiting party following behind us. On a recent visit I was therefore able to rectify this and played the full 1 to 18 holes. Stoke Park has 27 holes made up of three interlinked 9-hole courses – the Colt, the Alison and the Lane Jackson. It is recognised as one of the Top 100 courses of England. The bunkers on holes 10 to 18 have now been fully restored and refurbished and I can vouch for their difficulty by the fact that by the end of my round I felt as though I should be carrying a bucket and spade as well as a full complement of clubs. They really are the most vicious of traps surrounding, as they do, every large green. Junior golf is thriving at Stoke Park. Whilst I was there I saw the Junior Golf Summer Camp in operation – what a happy, enthusiastic bunch of under 14s. Bringing golf to Juniors is great to watch and is the life blood of the future of the sport. This strategy at Stoke Park is already paying off as they number Conor Gough aged 16 amongst their members. He has been selected for the Walker Club, won the England Golf Awards prestigious “Performance of the Year” and played at the British Masters by invitation from Tommy Fleetwood who had previously won the same award. This was all achieved whilst he was studying for his GCSEs. I heard that he plays the first hole – par 5, 545 yards – with a 3 iron, wedge and putter to achieve a birdie on most of his outings on the course. New practice areas have been developed and are a significant addition to the golfing facilities. These include a large putting green, a wedge range allowing the opportunity to work on shots from 100 yards and extensive improvements on the driving range. The swing studio has been upgraded but the most interesting new facility is the simulators providing golfers the ability to practice on all of the 27 holes at Stoke Park whatever the weather. Movable tee plates also simulate all the different lies that can be experienced on the course. Food at Stoke was as delicious and imaginative as ever using the finest locally sourced ingredients. Chris Wheeler has lost none of his flair and inventiveness – in fact to my mind – he goes from strength to strength. I was fortunate to dine both at The Orangery and at Humphrey’s where Chris is Executive Chef The home smoked scallops with rose tempura, pea purée and pickled radish was delicious particularly as the roe was also used – very unusual unfortunately these days. Desserts were divine. Chocolate brownie with banana ice cream and raspberry soufflé with lavender shortbread and ice cream. Chris Wheeler is amazing – whether he is catering for 2 or 250 people his food is always innovative but never over the top pandering to the fickle fate of fanciful foodies. Food is respected allowing the high quality sustainable ingredients to zing through in the dishes he creates tickling the taste buds but not forgetting the presentation which is so important. Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Stoke Park.

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  1. Having just played 18 holes today and finished absolutely starving I can agree that post golf food is essential. From the pictures of the food it looks as if the chefs at Stoke Park certainly look after their guests.

  2. I wish I could be as enthusiastic about U14 golfers. I was drawn against a ridiculously talented U14 player in a club tournament in the Spring. Despite his tender years he drove the ball huge distances and putted with unerring accuracy. He was also full of commiserations whenever I was unfortunate to end up in a bunker. The match was over by the 15th when he politely shook my hand and wished me luck for the rest of the season. Worse still his younger brother is even more outrageously talented. I just hope that I don’t get drawn against him in the near future.

  3. It makes such a difference when kids are coached properly from day one. When they are given the right techniques and their strokes are correctly grooved from the beginning it almost makes for an easy game. Some of the guys I play with have poor technique and are hooking and slicing the ball all over the place and have been for the last 20 or 30 years. It’s a much more enjoyable game when you stay on your own fairway and avoid the rough, bunkers, lakes and all the other hazards that you find on a golf course.

  4. Banana ice-cream – it sounds good to me. Let’s be honest here, there aren’t many flavours that don’t work with ice-cream. It’s God’s gift to puddings. I’ve even had the famous / infamous egg and bacon ice-cream at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and that was simply scrummy. I once had Parmesan ice-cream in Bologna and the jury’s still out on that one, though I’d give it a second chance.

  5. It’s good they have a programme to cater to the younger gold enthusiasts with their Junior Golf camp. Can’t say I’m a fan of golf, but I can see the appeal of going to Stoke Park. The food looks rather fancy and delicious, and it’s the first time I’ve come across lavender shortbread too. Very innovative and creative!

  6. Stoke Park, having been a golf course since 1908, has some history and looks to be maturing nicely. It is also said to have inspired the infamous 16th hole at Augusta. A dramatic hole where the nearby water has seen so many golfers’ hopes of glory and titles have literally sunk.

  7. It’s important that Golf Clubs encourage the next generation to play and Stoke Park are obviously setting a fine example with their youth policy. A round of golf takes quite a few hours in an age where we expect almost immediate gratification. I just hope that golfing numbers hold-up and that future generations carry on playing historic courses such as those at Stoke Park.

  8. I live about an hour’s drive from Stoke Park. I’d heard of the place but didn’t know that the golf course was so highly rated.

    Although I play quite a lot of golf I don’t belong to a golf club. Although it is probably a more expensive way of doing things I enjoy the challenge of playing different courses. Also I’ve got friends who are members at five different courses so it’s a good way of catching up with them and having a good chat over the course of 18 holes.

    It’s even more of an attraction that Stoke Park has such great food too. 18 holes, shower, drinks and a great meal usually makes for a perfect day.

  9. I am planning a trip to London with my family next month. I was searching for a good golfing recommendation. Some of my friends said that Stoke Park is the perfect place to enjoy life & Golf in a five star and friendly atmosphere. But I always worry about food quality. But after reading your blog it is certain that they took care of their guest pretty well! I will certainly keep them in my list & I will definitely try the brownies!

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