the club's 160 employees will be "scaled down"
Famous UK country club Stoke Park has announced that it will close for two years.
This comes just over a month after it was purchased by business tycoon Mukesh Ambani for £57 million.
Stoke Park is set among 300 acres of Buckinghamshire parkland. It has also featured in films such as Goldfinger.
However, it has now been announced that the venue will close from August 2, 2021, with the golf club and estate shutting on October 18.
It is expected to reopen in the summer of 2023.
A club spokesperson said:
“The new owners of Stoke Park, Reliance Industries Limited, are making a major investment into the estate and are committed to preserving Stoke Park’s rich heritage.”
The spokesperson went on to say that the club’s fifth owner had a “responsibility” to “future proof” the business.
It was reported that the club’s 160 employees will be “scaled down”, with those leaving being “properly compensated for their dedicated service”.
Stoke Park’s closure will also temporarily affect the Boodles Challenge, an international five-day tennis exhibition that is held the week before Wimbledon.
However, the closure has angered a lot of members.
Stoke Park’s 2,500 members have struggled to play on its 27-hole championship course, 13 tennis courts, three restaurants, gymnasium, spa and 49 rooms during the Covid-19 pandemic.
People pay more than £4,000 a year in membership fees.
They expressed “disgust” that the club is closing so soon after reopening.
They worry that the clubhouse is going to become Mr Ambani’s private residence.
Former club golf captain Des Folliard said:
“It’s all up in the air. There’s talk of it being made into a private residence.
“A lot of the golf clubs in the UK are being bought over by very rich people from abroad – it’s strange.”
Phil Slater said: “A lot of rich people just want their personal plaything.
“He’ll probably come over here for a couple of months a year and have the golf course to himself.”
John Lee has had a family membership at the club since 2016.
He said: “Closing it for two years is going to lose them members.
“Some won’t come back because we now have to look for other clubs.
“There’s probably four or five others near where we live, where you can take the family and have fun.”
The Telegraph reported that Mr Ambani was asked if he planned to create a private residence.
A spokesperson said the new owners have been “clear” they will “restore the club to its former glory”, adding that its members remained the “beating heart” of Stoke Park and they look forward to welcoming them back to share a “glorious future”.