Golf courses are known for their exclusivity and their expensive value. Some have been estimated to cost over $500 per person per round. Already iconic for their luscious greens and celebrity members, it was only fitting that there was eventually a cross over that featured the most iconic and wealthy fictional celebrity of all time, James Bond. The crossover was Stoke Park, an internationally recognized course. Mukesh Ambani, who purchased the property, is a billionaire known for being the owner of Reliance Industries Ltd., a company with an estimated value of over $100 billion. The company has a wide range of investments including within the oil and telecom industries. The golf course featured in the James Bond film “Goldfinger” was sold to the company for a record $79 million. Mukesh was featured on the Forbes Top 10 Billionaires list where his net worth was estimated around $75.3 billion. This is the second major British purchase from Ambani. He also purchased the toy chain Hamley’s back in 2020.

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James Bond is known for featuring expensive gadgets and locations. The golf course alone features a variety of amenities including a hotel and several other sports facilities. The course was also featured in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”. But it isn’t just the James Bond franchise that has utilized the Stone Park course. It was also featured in the Netflix series “The Crown” and the feature film “Bridget Jones Diary.” In addition to a filming location, the venue has also been utilized to host several concerts, benefits and galas. These have ranged from SportsAid in 2014 to the Boodless Tennis Championships, a precursor to Wimbledon. By breaking down some of the most iconic features of the course, it quickly becomes understandable why the price reached an astonishing high of $79 million.

The Course

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The golf course is a 27-hole championship course. It was originally designed by legendary golf architect Harry Colt who has designed some of the most recognized golf clubs including Aldeburgh, Alwoodley, Blackmoor, and Burnham and Berrow. The course was originally designed in 1908 as an inspiration for The Masters golf course Augusta National Golf’s Club including their iconic 16th hole.

The course is set in between over 300 acres of parkland, making it private and secluded as a benefit for its wealthier patrons. The course boasts a history of over 900 years and was expanded between 1790 and 1813 by a soldier and scholar named John Penn. The course started as a private residence and it wasn’t until 1908 that the residence was transformed into a club. The club then gained further public attention in 1964 when it was used as an iconic location in the Sean Connery-starring film “Goldfinger”. The set was used for a pivotal moment in the film where Bond plays golf with the titular character Auric Goldfinger, portrayed by Gert Forbe. The set was utilized again in 1997 when it appeared in another James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

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Amani purchased the golf course from the previous owners the King brothers: Chester, Hertford, and Whitney. The brothers have owned the property for 33 years. In 2001, they reportedly spent around $30 million restoring the course.

The Hotel

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The hotel on site is one of the most breathtaking features of the property. It contains over 49 rooms and suites, some of which have been accompanied by the highest of profile guests such as the British Royal Family and the Duchess of Cambridge. The hotel is a five-star resort and is located in Buckinghamshire, England within 35 miles of the iconic Heathrow Airport. Room prices range from $265 to over $1,030 per night.

The recent purchaser, Mukesh Ambani, is no stranger to the hotel industry either. His business conglomerate is also known for owning and operating several five-star Oberoi Hotels located in India. He is also known for owning a $2 billion, 400,000 square foot home in Mumbai. The estate was featured in a 2019 issue of Architectural Digest India. Located on Mumbai’s Billionaires Row, the property is estimated to be the second most expensive property in the world.

Sports Facilities, Gardens, and Other Amenities

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The grounds also feature a variety of additional amenities including sports facilities and gardens. There is a 4,000 square foot gym as well as a spa, an indoor swimming pool, steam rooms, and an outdoor playground. It also includes 13 tennis courts and a restaurant with several bars and lounges. Humphry’s fine dining and coffee shop San Marco is also located on the grounds.

Upon purchasing, Ambani announced his intent to expand, renovate, and improve several of these facilities including the sports and leisure sections. The area also includes several conference facilities as well that are anticipated to be renovated.

Ambani is also expected to host a series of gatherings and parties at the newly purchased location. Ambani is known for having hosted several extravagant gatherings before. He hosted a wedding for his daughter that included a performance by music icon Beyonce.

With additional renovations expected, it is anticipated that the $79 million course will only increase in value in the upcoming years, making it a rightful spot for James Bond to play golf.

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Sources: Forbes, FinancialTimes, MSN, TravelMole, SpotBoye, GolfMonthly, Top100GolfCourses, BusinessInsider

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