Belfry (Brabazon) - Warwickshire - England

The Belfry,
Wishaw,
North Warwickshire,
B76 9PR,
England


  • +44 (0) 1675 470301

  • Golf Club Website

  • 11 miles from Birmingham City Centre

  • Book in advance - handicap certificate required


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Belfry (Brabazon)

The Belfry played host to the 1985 Ryder Cup and was also host in 1989, 1993 and 2002. No other club has staged three Ryder Cups, let alone four, so The Belfry’s Brabazon course has become a Ryder Cup synonym. 1985 was a breakthrough year for Europe when Sam Torrance holed the winning birdie putt. Europe 16 ½ - USA 11 ½. The 1989 Ryder Cup matches were halved and this event heralded the commercial coming of age for the Ryder Cup, which featured the largest tented village ever seen at a sporting event in Britain. Europe 14 - USA 14. 1993 was the year of the US veterans Chip Beck and Raymond Floyd who claimed five points from a possible six. Payne Stewart and Jim Gallacher were also on form for the US. USA 15 - Europe 13. Delayed by the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the 2002 Ryder Cup was decided by a strong European singles performance that was sealed by Paul McGinley’s 8-foot par putt on the 18th, which secured a halve against Jim Furyk. Europe 15 ½ - USA 12 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at PGA National in 1983, Muirfield Village in 1987, Kiawah Island in 1991, Oak Hill in 1995, the Country Club, Brookline in 1999 and Oakland Hills in 2004.

The Brabazon course at The Belfry doesn't need introducing. After all, it's unique. This course has played host to more Ryder Cups than any other course on the planet - four in total. The Americans must dislike it, because team USA has only once triumphed here. Additionally, and for only the second time in Ryder Cup history, the 1989 biennial match was halved, but Europe retained the trophy because they were still the cup holders following their win in 1987 at Muirfield Village, Ohio.

The Belfry itself owes much to the vision and determination of one man, Colin Snape. In the mid 70s, Snape was the director of the financially struggling PGA. Over a pie and a pint, Peter Alliss told him that an old hotel on the outskirts of Birmingham was available as a potential new location for the PGA HQ. In 1977, The Brabazon - named after former PGA president, Lord Brabazon - opened for play with a challenge match, Seve Ballesteros and Johnny Miller against Tony Jacklin and Brian Barnes. The Belfry has never looked back.

Alliss and Thomas were given an unremarkable piece of farmland, which required significant sculpting to turn it into a remarkable golf course. For many visiting golfers, The Belfry (and The Brabazon course, in particular) is Mecca. Everyone wants to play here; it's an exciting golfing venue, drawing thousands of visitors each year.

The excitement comes from playing memorable and familiar holes. And, following Dave Thomas's £2.7m makeover in the late 90s, there is more water on The Brabazon than just about any other inland course in the British Isles - take a few extra balls. The course has two outstanding holes, which have been popularised by television - the 10th and 18th. The former is a unique short par four, measuring about 300 yards, with water running along the right hand side of the fairway. It is driveable - you've seen Seve do it - so go on, you've got to go for it.

The 18th is another hole that is totally dominated by water and it's terrifying. This dramatic, par four closing hole, rewards the brave. Cut off as much of the water as you can from the tee, and you will be left with a shorter approach shot, which must carry a lake on its way to a long, narrow, triple-tiered green. This hole has seen more Ryder Cup emotion than any other hole in the world. For this reason alone, to follow in the footsteps of golf's greatest legends, The Brabazon is a must-play course.

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Reviews for Belfry (Brabazon)

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Description: The Brabazon course at The Belfry doesn’t need introducing. This course has played host to more Ryder Cups than any other course on the planet – four in total. Rating: 6.5 out of 10 Reviews: 57
TaylorMade
T P Dean

The Belfry is synonymous with the Ryder Cup and represents the turning point between prior American domination and the current European stronghold on the event. For that reason, every amateur golfer has heard of the Brabazon course as many descend upon this venue to inevitably try their hand at replicating shots from yesteryear. It’s also located in the middle of the country meaning that the resort has easy access for most of England’s population. Whilst this must drive a phenomenal revenue through its gates, there’s just something a little gaudy about The Belfry. The arrival feels a bit like a business park as there are an array of red brick buildings that house offices and hotel accommodation, and you even pass a nightclub on the left hand side as you drive through the entrance. Belfry (Brabazon) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer I hate to be considered the golfing equivalent to a Muso (a Guso?), but this attracts the less golf-educated and dare I say it, less refined visitor to The Belfry. By this, I mean stag parties and boys’ weekends, so when you arrive at the tee, it just feels like you’re being churned through the system. So if all of this isn’t your bag, then don’t bother reading the rest of my review as I’d suggest to steer clear.

In fairness, the course itself is pretty good. There’s plenty of water which you’ll need to avoid, the conditioning is par excellence, greens are immaculate and run at a good speed and there are some interesting, well contoured green sites. There’s also some well designed strategy in the hole design. Bunkers are well placed and in play off the tee where the golfer is forced into thinking their way through the hole, requiring more than just bashing the ball off every tee with the driver so I applaud that element of the design to get the most from what is otherwise fairly uninspired land.

The best holes are undoubtedly those around the water and some of these are excellent. Of the opening holes, I really enjoyed the 3rd, a par five that doglegs Belfry (Brabazon) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer around a copse of trees and a small lake, playing into a two tiered green complex. The other standouts are the 9th and 18th. The finishing hole has not one, but two lake-carries whilst the 9th plays across the same greenside lake as 18, both of which are situated in front of the pretty ivy-clad clubhouse. The driveable risk-reward 10th also gets lots of attention, albeit it feels a little gimmicky to me, but it’s a fun and memorable risk-reward hole which is always a tick in the box. Despite these upsides, there are just too many forgettable holes for the Brabazon to deserve its reputation as one of the country’s premier courses. As the course inevitably has to move away from the lakeland holes at some point, it loses a bit of identity. The Belfry’s three courses are played across flat, arable land and the Brabazon’s design whilst being solid, lacks some visual interest from tee to green through parts of the course. So all in all, a good course, but please don’t pay three figures for the pleasure, there are better, lower cost and more intimate experiences that can be found elsewhere. 3.5 - 4 ball rating for me, but for the lack of atmosphere and absence of personal touch for the high green fee paid, I’ve decided to round down.

October 17, 2019
5 / 10
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Markus Digruber

Ryder Cup history, and still a great inland course, despite some recent negative comments. Beautiful layout in a parkland style. Signature hole 11 phantastic to play, and other holes like 18, 3, 17, etc with a magnificent lay out.

Club house is a must do with lot of history and pictures of history of English golf

September 28, 2019
8 / 10
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Oliver T

Played The Brabazon in October 2016, they had some pretty decent deals going so I signed up on my own and was paired with a friendly bunch of guys.

It's an enjoyable course with many championship styled holes, and as mentioned numerous times water pretty much everywhere... One of my favourite holes was the 10th "signature" hole, a fun hole which makes you want to go for green! Obviously the 18th is a great finish and a worth while experince considering the history behind it.

I'm glad I played the Brabazon but I didnt get the temptation to want to play it again after my round. I think with its history it can be overhyped by some.

It's deffinetly one to tick of the bucket list but I wouldnt be rushing back anytime soon.

Played: 2016

September 17, 2019
7 / 10
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Sue Mawhinney

I have really mixed feelings about staying at the Belfry as a resort but playing The Brabazon course was one of the positive aspects of my weekend there. Playing any course in November is quite risky, but we were lucky as although it was damp it didn't rain too much! The course was in good order and the greens were great. Lots of fallen leaves around, which made ball spotting challenging at times. As a female player, we can sometimes have a different experience from a golf course to our male counterparts, however apart from a few very small teeing off areas, it was really a good experience for me and I found many of the holes wonderfully interesting. I could have played the 10th time and time again! Strong 18th finishing hole too, although as the Belfry has introduced a shotgun start you only had a one in 18 chance of having the 18th as a final hole. Some of the holes were not particularly memorable but all in all it is a fabulous course. A big negative for me though is that the Belfry does not feel like at all like a golf club and feels more like a fairly smart hotel specialising as a Wedding, Hen and Stag party venue with a couple of golf courses attached. I also thought food and drink here was far too expensive - £5.20 for a black coffee???? The Belfry is a 4* resort with 5* London hotel prices. The Spa and pool was absolutely heaving with people too, so no relaxing there! Saying all of this, I would still go and play golf there again, given the opportunity. Maybe in the summer next time.

January 18, 2019
8 / 10
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Conor Beasley

Wow, what a course! It genuinely exceeded my expectations. Getting to hit shots from positions where some of golfs legends hit from is really something. The front 9 is slightly easier than the back, the first few holes ease you in nicely, 3 is a tough par 5 with a difficult tee shot, water down the left and a really tough green. 6 is another great hole, possibly one of my favourites, tough tight tee shot then the second shot is all carry over the water to a difficult green, making birdie made it all better. 9 is a fantastic way to finish, tight tee shot followed by a really good second shot into a green thats protected by what feels like 100 bunkers and a huge lake.

Now we get to the tenth, obviously went for it, long and into the back bunker, scariest tee shot ive ever faced, especially as there was about 40 people stood behind the tee! The back 9 feels a lot more difficult to the front, maybe because of the weird stroke index numbers, but still really enjoyable.

Stood on 18, you can barely see any fairway, just seems like water everywhere, i took 3 iron and was 2 yards away from the famous Christy O'Connor plaque. The second shot on 18 is very nerve racking, i put my ball on the top tier of the 3 tier green and the flag was on the bottom tier so it made for a fun putt.

All in all, the condition of the course was ridiculously good, especially with the crazy heatwave were having, it was so green. The fairways were perfect and the greens were so fast and true. Bunkers were raked to perfection and were great to hit out of.

The only annoying part was the prices of the bars, driving range, half way house etc... £4.50 for 30 balls isn't great and £3 for a lucozade also sucks but i guess it is what it is.

I would 100% recommend everyone to play there just to tick it off your bucket list and get to play a course so many greats have.

July 25, 2018
8 / 10
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Mike Fenton

I really enjoyed this course despite the weather and some mixed reviews. You need to drive the ball well here. A must play if you’re in the area due to its history. There are some average holes but there are also some great ones so it’s a good mix.

April 27, 2018
6 / 10
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Ben Swanton

Considering we were playing at the end of the first week in April, we completely ‘lucked out’ with the weather, which was in the late teens all weekend. This meant that the course played pretty well despite the previous couple of weeks having been wet here in the UK. The greens themselves throughout the weekend played quickly, and had a huge amount of undulations and breaks that required your constant attention.

The signature holes on the Brabazon are what you expect them to be – the driveable par 4 10th hole, and the brutally challenging but epic 18th par 4 which we all remember from Paul McGinley’s epic win against Jim Furyk in the 2002 Ryder Cup. The highlight of the round for me, and indeed the weekend, was when I managed to drive the 10th green – apparently being the only one of the day to do so, and thus winning a free round of golf for myself and 3 friends around the PGA National! Aside from these two holes, the other ones that stood out for me was hole 3 par 5, which is a long dogleg that has a lake protecting the green.

For me the front 9 held more intrigue and there was more of a premium on accuracy and shot selection, mainly because water featured more prominently. The back 9 holes, however, felt more like a slog due to the length. Granted it was playing more into the wind on this day, but continuously I felt like I was hitting long irons into the greens which then meant that your short game and putting had to be spot on to give you a chance. The par 3s were so brutal from the white tees – the 12th playing 225 yards into wind, and the 14th (Faldo’s hole in one) playing 205 yards. The difference between the whites and yellow tees is 500 yards (6650 vs 6150 yards) but at times it felt like 1000. In the summer months with more roll out it would not feel so much, and I will look forward to going there again to try it out.

BTW, the course plays Fourballs only so if you go on in a pair or on your own you will be paired up.

May 15, 2017
8 / 10
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Ed Battye

Truth be told, waterfalls and fountains don’t do a lot for me on a golf course.

And there’s a lot of other things at The Belfry that aren't to my personal taste, but considering the 18 holes on the Brabazon objectively, individually and collectively there’s no disputing this is a good golf course.

Positively parkland, formerly farmland, this multiple Ryder Cup venue is arguably the best of its peers when it comes to resort-type courses in England.

Naturally it suffers from the same limitations as other non-links/heath courses, in the sense that the aerial game dominates, but it’s easy to see why this is a popular venue for many.

There’s obviously the famous and excellent 10th, a real death or glory style hole for the brave, and the iconic 18th, played over a lake towards the unmistakable clubhouse, that has seen much drama over the decades. But there’s a series of other fine two-shotters which often don’t get the plaudits they deserve.

Well located fairway bunkers and engaging green complexes are the main reason they impress on a property that changes little in elevation throughout. Good use of water is made at several holes although it could be argued there is a bit too much of the wet stuff at times as it makes an appearance on at least 11 of the holes and quite often it must be avoided twice on the same hole; drive and approach. Watch out for the duck-poo too! An inevitable consequence of having so many ponds on the estate.

I think The Belfry can rightly be regarded as one of the top 100 golf courses in England, albeit in the lower third of this company.

The Belfry is a course that certainly has its detractors. I’d like to think I’m not one of those and always come away quietly impressed. Most of the things I don’t care for much here are not really relevant to the actual golf, I mean a nightclub… really?

The corporate, commercial feel and a mix of golfers with non-golfers takes away any atmosphere around the place but once out on the course you can really enjoy what matters; the golf. The downside to this is that you will likely have more than five hours to drink it all in.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

April 24, 2017
6 / 10
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Aidan Healey
Well where do I start..! Being able to play The Brabazon allowed me to tick off one of my bucket list courses. It certainly didn't disappoint. Yes I'll be the 1st to admit as a layout there are a lot better in England, but nothing will give you the buzz and excitement of being stood on the 10th tee seeing Seve's plaque and having a pop at the green! (A nice little eagle made it all the more special). Then hitting my tee shot Belfry (Brabazon) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerwithin a yard of O'Connors plaque on the 18th, being able to picture seeing 30,000 fans packed round the green and him hitting his 2 iron at The Ryder Cup.. No where else in England can give you that excitement. Yes the greenfee is hefty, but you pay for the right to say you've played The Belfry where legends have played. As a whole the condition of the course was top notch, some of the best greens I've putt on all year (up there with Woburn Marquess and Lake Nona). As a layout I see where people get a little underwhelmed, there are a lot of "average" holes but there are also a lot of very good holes (3,6,9,12) then the 2 world class holes at 10.18 which make the experience. I'm now lucky enough to be able to say I've played The Brabazon at the Belfry and it will live long in the memory. Every golfer must play the course one day just to be able to experience what the legends themselves have experienced at the Ryder Cup.
September 16, 2015
8 / 10
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WRD
Our family of four (Mum a 22 hcp, Dad a 10 hcp and two teen boys both 8 hcp) played here twice on the 8th and 9th of April as part of a stay and play deal paying £129 for each round, each person, including bed and breakfast in the hotel which was very comfortable. The excitement of playing a course with so much history was difficult to contain on the 1st tee but despite this the largely negative reviews left previously left me wondering what to expect.On the morning of our arrival prior to our first round the tees and fairways had been cut and the course was in super condition, though the greens a tad slow and with a bit of growth on them, but this is to be expected in the early season. The starter was extremely informative and very friendly, his advice being a nice touch to start the day. The course begins with a fairly straightaway par 4, and this is followed by a tough drive on 2 and a strong par 5 at the 3rd. At the 4th things do start to get tough- a tough drive to a narrow fairway is followed up with a mid to short iron to a very shallow wide green. The 5th and 6th wind around a large lake and demand very accurate and exacting drives- these are two very tough holes. We arrived soon after at the 10th hole, which on the anniversary of Seve's birthday conjured memories of his various performances on this hole. My brother proceeded to hit a 3 wood off the yellow tee (255 yds to the green centre) on to the green 10 foot short of the flag, and proceeded to hole the putt for eagle!! This is truly one of the great risk reward holes and my brother will certainly take this memory with him the rest of his life! The back nine has further very strong holes including the par 3 12th- very picturesque and playing 180 yds off the yellows with a lake in front of the green, and 2 excellent par 5s in the 15th and 17th. The 18th is a tremendously tough hole and is a strong finish to a tough course; one which is clearly designed to be a stadium course and host tournaments- very American in appearance.Prior to our second round the fairways and tees had been rolled/mown again and so had the greens and these were quicker than the first day, which presented us with a tougher challenge than in the first round!The only negatives would be that at times the course is a tad 'field' like in appearance; there aren't many trees that separate the holes and it means that there isn't too much danger if you miss fairways other than the water. And also the pace of play; at 4hrs 50 minutes a round for a fourball we were a little tiresome come the 18th tee but this can't of course detract from the quality of the course that we played- maybe a different one that other played in previous reviews!Definitely play for the history and nostalgia if you can find a good deal somewhere- it is a good challenge for all golfers and off the medal tees I can imagine it plays seriously tough!
April 11, 2015
8 / 10
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