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

  • James Stewart

  • Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas

  • Chris Reeve


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: 4.2 out of 6 Reviews: 53

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.

5 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
July 25, 2018


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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.

4 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
April 27, 2018


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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.

5 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
May 15, 2017


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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.

4 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
April 24, 2017


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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.
5 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
September 16, 2015


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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!
5 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
April 11, 2015


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Played the Brabazon 3 weeks ago. I always thought the course was a "field" but consoled myself to the fact that the conditioning would be immaculate considering the cost of a round (£160) and its recent heritage. The condition was appalling, especially the greens that were bumpy and had a number of bare patches. The fact that the Brabazon is in top 100 in BI and top 40 in England is political. It is an insult to those superb courses in the "next 100" list. I have played 70 of top 100 and 30+ of next 100 and this is comfortably the worst and most boring course I have played. I realise the land may not have been inspiring but the design / architecture is deficient and a re-vamp is urgently required. Shame as the staff are very friendly and helpful. This course in a word is appalling. (This is the first negative review I have ever written which illustrates how bad I thought it was)  I did drive the 10th though, so not all doom and gloom !
1 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
October 03, 2014


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Just played the Brabazon & the condition of the course was a disgrace. 4 Ryder Cups followed by a serious lack of investment & course management. On the course everything was tatty & tired the greens & tees were play & pay standard. £160 was too much to pay for a four ball but this is the price per golfer! Little Aston, Notts, Sherwood are in a different league & Top 100 should seriously review its rating.
1 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
October 02, 2014


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The four-time host of the Ryder Cup attracts both blind devotion and some almost equally blind criticism. The locals are proud of the course and what it has achieved in putting Midlands golf on the map, and this pride infuses the universally friendly welcome. The army of greenkeepers should be proud of the first-class conditioning, true and fast-paced greens, and in their ability to return the course to tip top notch after early morning heavy rain. Belfry (Brabazon) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThe course is a demonstration of what can be achieved when turning flat, unpromising countryside into an American style parkland course. An abundance of water hazards is inevitable in order to inject interest and challenge for all, with at least 10 holes having water genuinely in play. Of the water-dominated holes, the 4th and 8th are too similar to each other with their narrow water-filled ditches protecting their fronts, preventing any run up shot. The par3 12th and 7th are very good though, especially the crowned, raised putting surface of the 7th. The 18th is a great hole when playing to any format, but in strokeplay most will play the 10th with two flicks with irons, thereby dimming its lustre. There are some good holes here, not just the well-known ones. The 2nd is rather subtle in its design and the 16th is a gem with a green that slopes away from the fairway with the outside possibility of bouncing in off the front right mound. The 13th green also has the nice (almost linksy) touch of a run off leading balls into the back greenside bunker. Some might see the course as having a strong consistent design theme, while others will see the problem of repetitive holes, with few changes of pace, or holes that stand out. What you expect from a course in this respect will determine how you evaluate the value-for-money of the green fee at The Belfry.
4 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
August 28, 2012


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I have played here a few times now and recently played after torrential rain and in high winds and I have to say I thought it was excellent.The greens were perfect (for a very wet April) and the general condition of the course was as good as you could expect.There are a few forgettable par 4s but it's way more than 10 & 18. The only real shame is the water which makes the front nine so treacherous of pretty is generally missing from the back nine.At £150 for two rounds on the Brabazon and a one-night stay I think you'd struggle to find more for less.
5 / 6
Belfry (Brabazon)
April 29, 2012


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