The Belfry (Brabazon) - Warwickshire - England

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


  • +44 (0) 1675 470301

  • Golf Club Website

  • 1 mile N of Wishaw

  • Welcome - book in advance - handicap certificate required


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, 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 chew 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. But it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Tom Doak commented as follows in his original Confidential Guide to Golf Courses: “For some reason the designers have tried to bring American design concepts to British soil, but the stylized, Trent Jones-style bunkers and multiple-tiered greens, and an utterly failed attempt to imitate Pete Dye’s telephone poles to line a bunker (it looks like a bunch of Lincoln logs on end in a sandbox), imitate the worst elements possible.” The bunkers have changed since a young Doak penned the above comments and he tempered his words in the latest series of confidential guides. Interestingly, his rating also improved, up from 4 to 5 (out of 10), so maybe the Brabazon is not so bad after all.

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Reviews for The 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: 72
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ADRIAN FOSTER
Played the Brabazon on the 17th March & it was in very good shape, greens were good along with fairways & bunkers. The layout is very good with lots of water in play on most of the front 9, i loved the 6th hole with a tight fairway to find off the tee and water protecting the front left of a tricky green. of course the 10th hole is the one that everybody will have a crack at a great risk & reward holes. i was really impressed by just how many good holes were on this coures & you can see why the Ryder cup was played here lots of birdie chances, match play at it's best. all the staff were very helpful & a credit to the place. the only down side would be that the course is not in the most picturesque of places with a busy motorway close by but don't let that put you off coming here to play this golf course, all in all very happy with what the Belfry had to offer. (handicap 3)
March 21, 2012
8 / 10
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bennett
Played this in late February and it was in tip top condition. Loved it. The greens are exceptional and decidedly tricky. Staff very helpful - we had a delayed start due to frost and the course manager, Kirk, kept us updated on matters.Liked the occasional references on the course to exceptional feats by professional golfers during the many tournaments it has hosted. Suggest they add more.This is one of the great theatres of golf - we are allowed to play that same stage. Great.
February 21, 2012
10 / 10
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Ivan
The Brab - where would it rank if it had not had the Ryder Cup ? This is a tournament course and if you have not played it worth a go just to say you have. To be fair the greens and tees are usually in excellent condition. The problem with the design is that there are at best 5 memerabe holes. The rest require long hitting and long second shots, as a mid handicap golfer (14) the last time I played the course (in mid June) I hit 12 fairways but could only go for 1 green in regulation, is this fair reward for accurate driving! When asked where I would play, the Brab I am afraid would not make my top 10 in the Midlands!
November 24, 2011
4 / 10
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Dan hopwood
July 12, 2013
You don't hit it far enough!!
Sam Baldwin
It's strange to see some negative views directed towards this course. Coming from the Midlands the course is like folklore and most, if not all, serious golfers have played here in our parts. I seriously feel that it's a case of expecting too much. It's always in fabulous condition, with exceptional greens, tees and fairways and the reception and facilities are probably some of the best you will come across; I imagine this is what exceptionally wealthy courses in the US are like (not that they'll ever let you on). The design is great with some excellent holes and it is fun to talk about famous moments you have seen. Yes it can be a little repetitive, yes the course can be completely different if they close the big tees off but if you play the Open courses at certain times of the year then they will have shortened the course by 1000 yards and all the bunkers are out of play. They have deals here and infield urge anyone to go and play.
August 04, 2011
8 / 10
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James Legg
Played the Brabazon last year. The best things about the belfry is the 10th hole, the 18th hole and the Bellair night club. The package we were on was very good, however we were very disappointed by the standard of the course. 2 very good holes does not make a world class course. All in all the trip was very enjoyable but that was more to do with the company and the hospitality in the hotel than the golf. I'd go again but wouldn't be willing to part with £150. I'd rather play Little Aston twice for virtually the same price.
August 04, 2011
4 / 10
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am
August 21, 2011
This is spot on. The conditioning and presentation of the Brabazon are impressive, the design qualities and shot variety less so. Certainly not 36th in England ahead of Sherwood Forest and Little Aston.
Graham Westerman
Just gets better each time we play -Fantastic condition for November
November 14, 2010
10 / 10
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Bobo
Having read some of the reviews here I can't understand the negative comments. Just returned from the playing the course twice, I thouroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The greens, along with those at Burnham and Berrow were the best I have ever putted on and that was at the end of October. The course was superbly presented and throughly enjoyed playing the famous holes that provided so much Ryder cup history such as the 10th, 16th and 18th. The only downsides I have were: (1) The strater was trying to rush us out off the 1st and we had numerous marshals asking us what time we teed off trying to rush us around when the course was practically empty. (2) Instead of removing the leaves from the course, they were blown into the rough. If you hit your balls anywhere near them, it was a definite lost ball. Other than that, I thought the course was magnificent although I'm not sure if I would pay the £140 green fee!
November 01, 2010
8 / 10
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Adam Heyes
How anyone can give this course a 1 ball rating I have no idea.In fact I have no idea why this is so low in the ratings. The entire place is geared up for golf, but makes it so much more easier for the "common man" to be able to a course of this level.Played here on 4 different occasions and loved every minute of it.
September 03, 2010
10 / 10
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Melvin
This course is certainly in tip top condition. Amazing feat by the grounds staff to keep this course in its current playing condition despite the weather in the west midlands. We played there during the bank holiday weekend which poured incessantly. Nonetheless, the greens were still running at 10.5 on the stipometer. My favourite holes would have to be the 9th and 18th but there were certainly a number worth mentioning in the same breath (the par5 3th, par 4 6th and 8th). The front 9 were definitely a lot more difficult and challenging than the back 9 but given the windy conditions, the course proves to be a challenge for any level of golfer any day. Not sure why this course rates lower than the PGA National, the sister course at the Belfry. I would certainly rank it higher than the latter and playing it was certainly the highlight of our trip. Last but not least, I must definitely mention the warm hospitality we received from all the staff at the golf resort, with specific mention of Kirk, a grounds marshall at the resort. Will certainly visit again!
August 31, 2010
10 / 10
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Keith Baxter
September 01, 2010
The Brabazon course is currently ranked more than 100 positions higher than the PGA National. Not sure why you think the Brab rates lower than the PGA?
Graham Westerman
This is the best inland course I have ever played-The blood starts to pound at the memories of the tiatanic Ryder cup battles here,but it is a tough track for a club player,Our 4 ball lost a collective total of 8 balls at the magical short 10th and a quick glance into the water surrounding the green confirms we were far from the only ones-This was only bettered at the majestic 18Th when our best player (6 handicap) plonked 3 into the big blue-The course and facilities really are first class-Play it if you can,but don't ignore the PGA National course here as although it may not have the same Kudos as the Brabazon it is still a corker
August 19, 2010
10 / 10
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JEFF G W
June 20, 2011
The PGA is merely a practise course for young pros. NO character just loads of bunkers and deep rough enjoy not.
DAO
October 07, 2014
Play it now then play a couple of other inland courses and let us know your feedback