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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Murray Piggot
A true Championship course. Was in absolutely superb condition. Struggle to understand if people do not enjoy all of the challeges on this course. Excellent well versed starter who set us of on our way with some do's and dont's. Marshalls on course ensured that speed of play was maintained without ever being intimidating. Already looking forward to my next visit. 9.5/10!
July 26, 2010
10 / 10
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Malcolm Searle
Because of it's history I expected more wow factor for my money than I got on this course, undoubtedly there are some great holes (the 10th & 18th especially), but there are also several more pedestrian ones between. The greens were very quick, and the pace of play wasn't too slow (4h 30m) - I'd expected worse. The infrastructure is great - good driving range & pro-shop, the starters and marshals were friendly & polite. There was lots of earth moving and JCBs around, there seems to be serious tinkering every winter. I came away slightly deflated - a good course, but overrated I feel. Glad I've played it, but wouldn't pay £100 a second time.
March 28, 2010
6 / 10
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Antony Eden
Played the Brabazon yesterday and after listening to a number of mixed reviews about the course didn't know what to expect. Some said that it was nothing more than a field, others that it it was a fantastic track worth of a place in the top 100 rankings. I have to agree with the 2nd lot! The facilities upon arival were awesome. The biggest pro shop I've seen im my life, a great driving range and chipping facilities and a great clubhouse/bar if more than a little pricey!!! The course was in great condition for September and the greens were really fast for the time of year. Drove it close on the 10th which made the day and will definately be back again!!!
September 27, 2009
8 / 10
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Steve Clark
Giving this course a 1 ball rating is nonsense! Ok, it is not one of my favourite courses, but it is a great experience and a real challenge! I am a pretty good 14 handicapper and yet I always seem to lose a lot of balls in the water hazards here, and this, combined with extremely quick greens means alot of big numbers are put down on my scorecard. However, they do keep the rough pretty short, because if they let it grow it would turn the course into a nightmare for the average golfer. The sixth hole is one of the toughest holes anywhere, with water all down the left, bunkers on the right and a sloping green. Whenever I have played the course it has been in excellent condition and the facilities are also very good too.
August 12, 2009
6 / 10
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steve
what a great course, i could play it every day (if i could afford it) the 10th and 18th make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. steeped in ryder cup history, greens that are tremendous. hope the european tour uses the belfry again soon.
April 26, 2009
8 / 10
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Ben
We played the Brabazon as part of a £99 deal (plus a round on the PGA, a night in the hotel plus breakfast) on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th March. We had stayed in the hotel the night before, it is a bit dated and could do with a bit of an upgrade but the room was comfy and breakfast was very good. The pro shop is awesome, the practice facilities are decent, you have to pay for range balls as it's a 4 star hotel and not a 5 star hotel like the Celtic Manor where you get them for free and a load of other personal touches but all in all we had a great couple of days at the Belfry. We had to tee off the 11th to start as they were working on the 10th. I'd say the greens on the Brabazon were even better than the PGA, they were unbelievably quick but receptive to a full shot. There is a lot of water so take plenty of balls but the course is fair, the 18th is just a ridiculously tough hole and you just don't appreciate how steep the 3 tier green is on TV. The complex was really busy both days we were there so there is a lot of traffic on the course and they probably overplay them but keep the condition to a high standard. I probably wouldn't pay £70 to play it though. BB
March 30, 2009
6 / 10
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Steve Ramsbottom
Just played the course this week following heavy rain and snow only a few weeks ago. You honestly couldnt tell, it looked and played every bit as good as it does on TV. Considering the weather condition the greens were perfect and very quick. It makes you appreciate just how good the pro golfers are. I found the course to be very playable but will bite you if you try too much - which to my mind is exactly how it should be. The History of the course is something to be admired - You dont get four Ryder cups for nothing. So go and play it with caution and respect. Highly recommended
March 07, 2009
8 / 10
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stephen voce
Enjoyed tne course although not one of my personal favourites.
June 13, 2008
4 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
This course has some very ordinary holes such as 1st,2nd,11th and 13th, but on the other hand has some of the most exciting modern day holes around such as 3rd,6th,9th,10th and 18th. This makes the course a must play, and to play the famous holes is great. However its well over priced and packed with golf breaks and coporate golfers getting rushed along by marshalls. Work going on around the course with JCB's proving tough hazards!! Course was in good condition and was great to play it.
June 02, 2008
6 / 10
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david jackson
Played the Brabazon on Friday, all 4 seasons in one day but nothing can take away the splendour of walking up the 18th, a good drive, hitting my 2nd in the water then a short iron to 4' and sinking the putt. A great course and a welcoming club to visit, a course is not just about the golf, the experience and the people, from the starter right through the club made the day fantastic.
March 23, 2008
10 / 10
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