Lee Westwood: What’s In The Bag?
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The European Tour is a truly global affair, with 46 events, played over 49 different courses in all four corners of the world. From bucket list venues like Emirates Golf Club and Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre to modern classics like Bro Hof Slott, the schedule also covers some of the best venues on the planet. Here are seven that everyone should play:
Ranked #2 in Switzerland on All Square
The long-time home of the European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre, may well be the most popular venue on the European Tour. Sitting on a lush mountain plateau, the Alpine setting at Crans-sur-Sierre has rightly earned the Swiss resort a reputation as one of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet.
Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott are just three of the many golfing greats who have fallen under the spell of the mystical Alpine setting. One of many reasons why Crans-sur-Sierre has hosted more European Tour events than any other venue.
Ranked #4 in the Middle East on All Square
Host to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Abu Dhabi Golf Club is a marvel in golf course design. Perhaps most known for the iconic eagle clubhouse, the venue has hosted the European Tour event since 2006. Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Martin Kaymer are among the big names to have triumphed at this tranquil desert oasis. The best thing about the 27-hole golf complex is that it’s playable for all golfers. The pros may face a challenge, but generous landing areas and large greens make it fun for mere mortals too.
Ranked #1 in the United Arab Emirates on All Square
The Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club was the first grass course in the Middle East. A year after opening the green oasis staged the inaugural Desert Dubai Classic. The venue continues to welcome the world’s finest players each year for the desert extravaganza.
The course is undoubtedly one of the finest venues in the United Arab Emirates and is a fitting host for the European Tour event, which is played against the backdrop of Dubai’s iconic skyline.
Desert dunes frame the golf course, with salt water lakes forming the primary hazard on several of the holes. The most memorable part of the course is the daunting closing hole. Golfers must play their approach among one of the course’s many lakes to a long and thin green shaped like a bow tie. The heart-stopping finishing has dashed the hopes of many title contenders, including no other than Tiger Woods.
Ranked #17 in Continental Europe on All Square
From humble origins, Le Golf National has risen to become France’s premier golf destination.
Located on a former rubbish dump, the long-term home of the French Open will become the focal point for the world’s attention this September when it becomes the first French course to host the Ryder Cup. The Albatros course is no stranger to the spotlight. The course has welcomed many of the world’s best golfers since first staging the prestigious European Tour event back in 1991. Recent champions include Tommy Fleetwood, Thongchai Jaidee, and Martin Kaymer.
The venue is ideal for tournament play, with the last four holes set in a stadium-like bowl. With each surrounded by water, there is sure to be plenty of drama come to Ryder Cup Sunday. The course is also stated to host the Olympic Games in 2024.
Ranked #3 in Continental Europe on All Square
This fabled club is bucket-list material and is arguably Continental Europe’s most famous layout.
The first venue in mainland Europe to host a Ryder Cup in 1997, the event would prove to be among the most exciting in the tournament’s history. Seve Ballesteros would lead the European team that year, a thrilling contest that would come down to the very final hole.
The spectacle that Sunday is fitting of a dramatic layout that will keep you mesmerised from the moment you step on the first tee. Valderrama‘s narrow, cork-lined fairways, will necessitate pinpoint accuracy throughout. Small greens will ask questions of your approach game. While the numerous doglegs will be sure to keep you on your toes.
The course has hosted several European Tour events, including the Volvo Masters, Spanish Open, Andalucia Masters and the WGC American Express Championship.
Ranked the best course in Sweden since opening in 2007, the Stadium Course at Bro Hof Slott is a big hit among the continent’s top pros when the European Tour comes to town. One of the toughest venues on the European schedule, Lee Westwood was crowned Nordea Masters champion here in 2012.
One of the finest architects of the contemporary era, Robert Trent Jones Jr. was the mastermind behind the championship layout. With the addition of the Castle course two years later, Bro Hof Slott has since cemented itself as Stockholm’s must-visit golf destination.
Everything at Bro Hof Slott is built on a grandiose scale, with the Stadium course measuring over 8,000 yards. Meanwhile be sure to bring plenty of golf balls. Almost every hole is encircled by water.
As the home of the BMW International Open, München Eichenried is perhaps the most well-known German course globally.
Within easy reach of Munich city centre, the course features three loops of nine. Each designed by renowned golf course architect Kurt Roßknecht. A lengthy course, best suited to the longer-hitter, there are few elevation changes. Nonetheless, golfers are required to navigate water-hazards aplenty, as well as the mature trees that line many of the fairways. Situated within a 150-hectare reserve, the course feels a long way from fast-paced city life. The friendly club boasts great practice facilities and is a must-play on a visit to the city.