Two of the best words to describe a Ryder Cup are passion and patriotism. This magnificent bi-annual golf event captures the hearts of American and European fans all over the world. If you’re lucky enough to attend, take pictures and treasure the amazing moments you will experience over the three days. Please be good sports, Europe doesn’t “suck” and not all Americans drink “pissy beer”. We can all get along!
Thirty-six venues have hosted a Ryder Cup and some of them have been used multiple times. However, the eight courses below are my top past Ryder Cup venues:
Wentworth Club – England (1953)
The Ryder Cup was actually born here in 1926 after Samuel Ryder and his fellow players decided to hold matches between Britain and America every two years. There’s loads of history at Wentworth, apparently Eisenhower and Montgomery used a hidden bunker on the grounds during WW2. Unfortunately, team Great Britain couldn’t escape all the bombs the Americans were dropping in 1953, as they lost 6 1/2 to 5 1/2.
The Country Club at Brookline – Massachusetts (1999)
The Country Club is one of the oldest golf courses in the United States. Saturday night during the 1999 Ryder Cup, Ben Crenshaw had a premonition and uttered the famous line: “I have a good feeling about this, that’s all I’m going to tell you.” The next day team USA beat Europe in the Sunday matches and took home the cup. I could write an entire article about how ugly the American’s uniforms were in ’99 but it doesn’t matter, this was a miracle and helped elevate the Ryder Cup as a major sporting event.
Valderrama Golf Club – Spain (1997)
Spain is an amazing country, with perfect weather, incredible food and a very appealing lifestyle. Let’s face it, there’s no way Europe was going to lose the 97 Ryder Cup on their home turf. Valderrama is one of the best golf courses in Spain if not the entire continent and is a must play if you’re a golf traveler.
Pinehurst #2 – North Carolina (1951)
The famed Donald Ross designed Pinehurst # 2 course was the site of a repeat of the Revolutionary War. Interestingly, at this time the Ryder Cup was played between Great Britain (not Europe) and the United States. Needless to say, team USA whipped team GB 9 1/2 to 2 1/2. I consider Pinehurst one of the great capitals of golf in the world.
The Belfry – England (1985, 1989, 1993, 2002)
The Europeans have a fantastic record against the Americans at The Belfry in England. In fact, they’ve beat team USA three out of the four times it was held there. This is a classic Ryder Cup venue and an ideal course for match play, which is one of the reasons it has hosted multiple cups.
Hazeltine National Golf Club – Minnesota (2016)
Hazeltine might be one of my favorite Ryder Cup venues on the list. Not only did team USA thrash the Europeans 17 to 11, the golf course itself was absolutely stunning in 2016. The atmosphere at this particular tournament was intense as the Euros were looking for fourth victory in a row.
Gleneagles – Scotland (2014)
I have to be honest, the PGA Centenary Course is not my favorite layout but the Gleneagles Resort is absolutely amazing. It’s a fitting host to such a prestigious tournament at one of the worlds greatest estate hotels. Gleneagles is pure class and I hope to see more Ryder Cups hosted there in the future.
Muirfield – Scotland (1973)
It’s no secret, I love Muirfield. I’ve also included it in a The Best Open Championship Course Venues post. This is one of the best links golf courses in the world. The 1973 Ryder Cup was played between “Great Britain & Ireland” and the United States. America won and the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers were left disappointed the home team couldn’t retain the cup.