Stowe is synonymous with the game of golf and it is remarkable to think that golf has been played within the grounds of Stowe since the 1920s and formed such an important part of the overall Stowe experience.
Stoics have been able to play and develop their golfing skills during their time at Stowe and gain much pleasure and enjoyment in the process. Following the appointment of Andrew Hancox as our PGA Golf Professional and Director of Golf, golf at Stowe has undergone a transformation and now enjoys a significantly higher profile at all age levels across the School. There really are exciting times ahead as we now prepare to open our new golf course, launch the Stowe Golf Academy and continue to welcome the arrival of our talented Golf Scholars.
The location of our new golf course is on a very special site indeed – the rolling landscape provides superb natural features for golf and the land lies adjacent to the earthwork remains of Lamport Village. The site is also positioned amongst a range of other historic features including Lord Cobham and Gibbs’s Bourbon Tower (c.1740) and Bridgeman’s 1720s Bycell Riding which lies to the south of the site, adjacent to Gibbs’s Stowe Castle (c.1740). Measuring just less than 6,400 yards when played as an 18-hole course, the new nine-hole layout commences in a southeasterly direction with stunning views of the Gothic Temple. Indeed, the delightful opening hole will require a tee shot to be played away from the Bourbon Tower in the direction of the distant Stowe Castle, thus providing a good indication of the overall scale of the layout. Without question, the signature hole on the course will be the third hole – a tricky dogleg of 380 yards that requires a tee shot to be played over the historic quarry in order to allow for an approach to the very well protected green that is located on the other side of the lake.
STRI UK have worked closely with Stowe to create and develop the golf course layout and undertake the necessary ecological and environmental surveys as part of the rigorous planning process. The design process was extensive and intricate, with STRI’s golf course architect, Jonathan Tucker, creating a course that avoided areas of historic value, and the many ecological and environmental sensitivities on the site. The course development provides the opportunity to recreate historic features on the site, including a c.650m deer fence, positioned in a manner that matches historic records, and several bespoke tree plantations.
Project Director for STRI, Richard Stuttard said “This is an exciting opportunity to create an exceptional golf course within beautiful surroundings. STRI’s teams have relished the challenge of creating and implementing a design that is sympathetic to this unique environment and I’m confident that the end result will be something very special.”
Andrew Hancox, PGA Professional at Stowe School, said, “With significantly longer and more challenging holes, along with green profiling constructed in accordance with USGA guidelines, I genuinely believe that our new golf course will present itself as one of the finest school golf facilities in the country.”
In addition, the Stowe Golf Academy will provide Stoics with a unique opportunity to combine expert golf coaching and development of the highest quality with a first class academic education. Given our present lack of teaching and practice facilities for golf at Stowe, we are delighted to report that our new Golf Academy will feature a state of the art indoor training studio complete with launch monitors, high speed cameras, simulation and the very latest golf coaching and biomechanical analysis software, thus enabling Andrew to further develop the ever growing number of Stoics wishing to either learn or play the game. For any aspiring sporting talent, there is always the challenge of balancing the need to gain an exceptional all round academic education with a dedication to sporting achievement – the Stowe Golf Academy will provide an opportunity to do exactly that.