Golf’s reputation takes hammering

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 24, 2012 10:26

A story about a golf club wedding planner accidentally sending an email to the couple that were due to be married has gone viral.

After meeting the duo, Stoke Park Country Club, Spa and Hotel’s Michele Connelly sent an email to her manager stating that the she was ‘trying to put this wedding off as I don’t think they are the type of people we would want to have at Stoke Park.’ However, she copied in the couple – adult entertainer Pauline Bailey, 27, and Ministry of Defence engineer Paul Carty, 51 – by mistake.

They sent the email to a legal firm, which has pursued a discrimination claim on the basis of Mr Carty’s age and three facial piercings, rather than due to Ms Bailey’s work at Redlight Central TV, on their behalf. The couple also notified the press of the email.

Since being published, the story was the most read article on the BBC News website for more than 12 hours and has featured prominently on almost every other major British news website, and several major international news websites. It even attracted over 1,000 comments on the Mail Online’s site, far higher than a typical top story, and has led to the couple appearing on television, including on ITV’s Daybreak.

Reaction from people has been mixed. Tens of thousands have criticised the golf club over perceived snobbery. A comment on the Mail Online site that read ‘How unbelievably rude! And any venue, however posh, should be absolutely delighted to have someone willing to pay £10,000 during a recession. And who is this Michele woman to decide whether they are ‘her sort of people’? She will be very lucky not to be fired over this as lots of other people reading this will be put off going to such an unpleasant and snooty place’ received nearly 6,000 more clicks of support than disagreement, one of the highest the site has ever received.

However, some were more supportive. One Twitter user wrote: ‘It is a private club after all. Glad some places still have standards.’

Stacey Jeffries, who runs charity golf events, added: ‘This certainly isn’t my experience of Stoke Park. The staff are first class.’


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 24, 2012 10:26
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  1. Jack Vincent October 25, 00:18

    This happened April 3rd – the Stoke Park email apology was sent April 4th – confirming hotel would welcome their wedding. The couple then instructed a law firm to get financial compensation for the email or they would go to the press. The Bride to be is a glamour model – working name ‘Rachel T’ (Google her) and works on the Red Light Channel and Playboy TV!
    No discrimination from the hotel – just a human mistake by a member of staff.
    What was the real motive for the media interest almost 7 months later?

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  2. Sean Mysel October 24, 19:55


    One thing to consider is yes, it’s the hotel that screwed the pooch, but we still like to assign guilt by association. Trump’s issue is more about his attitude to the locals in Aberdeenshire, the apparent circumvention of protected lands and just the man’s overall persona.

    With Stoke, you had a single employee that either went rogue and made these comments based on her own beliefs, or expressed the beliefs of the club’s culture. Either way it’s up to both parties to get in front of the story.

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  3. Brian Inglis October 24, 11:16

    I don’t agree that any of this is detrimental to golf’s reputation – neither Stoke Park nor Trump’s place are “Golf Clubs” and we need to keep sight of this. A comical mistake at a luxury hotel which happens to have flagsticks in its grounds or the bullying actions of an American egomaniac are no reasons for us to start worrying.

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