Kevin Na: What’s In The Bag?
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Every two years the sporting world turns its attention to arguably the most exciting event in golf, The Ryder Cup. Europe versus USA is an incredible spectacle and today we will take a look at some of the greatest courses that have set the stage for some of the golf’s most historic moments.
‘The fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed’ was how the designer Donald Ross described his work here. Pinehurst No.2 played host to a Ryder Cup match between USA and GB&I that was famously stopped to allow the players to watch a college football match between North Carolina and Tennessee. This is one of the world’s truly great golf courses and, thanks to Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, has gotten even better in recent years. The North Carolinian land has been lovingly sculpted into the ‘home of American golf’ with seven courses to choose from. Pinehurst is the only course in the world to host two separate majors (the US Open and the PGA Championship) and the Ryder Cup. It also made history in 2014 when it played host to both the men and women’s US Opens in the same year. A very special golf destination!
One of golf’s super-resorts, PGA National in Palm Beach, Florida is home to five courses. The Champion Course is most famous of all as this was where Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin met as captains of their respective teams in a tense battle. Europe narrowly missed out on their first victory on US soil here and this course has since had a facelift by the captain that took them to victory that week. Nicklaus has put his signature style to this great course with two redesigns and has the infamous ‘Bear Trap’ section from the 15th to the 17th that will test even the best golfers.
The Belfry has hosted more Ryder Cups than any venue in the world. Hosting three home matches in a row this course, designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas and it’s a venue Team Europe must enjoy, they won here three out of four times. Many massive moments in the history of the great tournament including Sam Torrance holing a putt to give Europe their first victory in 28 years, and Seve driving the par-4 10th. This is a mecca for Ryder Cup fans and so is one you must play!
The battlefield for the ‘war on the shore’ is one of Pete Dye’s most famous creations. Like the previous course mentioned, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is set on beautifully dramatic terrain, which really adds to the course. This is a stern test of golf with tight fairways, many, many bunkers and an almost relentless wind that will make you carefully consider each shot. The par three seventeenth is one of the most memorable holes that you will ever play. As you make your way around the course you can imagine the dramatic events that unfolded here during one of the most fiercely fought Ryder Cups of all time.
The design remit for this course was for a course that would separate the very good from the great. Designed by Jack Nicklaus this course was built on a site of great significance for the tournament, this is where it all began well unofficially. The design of this course was a great challenge to Nicklaus, as he knew just how significant a site Gleneagles was and that this course had high expectations even before they began construction. At 7,296 yards it is a fairly long course especially if it’s wet and windy! This course will challenge players of every level but is a lot of fun to play. Like all of the courses at the Gleneagles Resort, the views of the surrounding Scottish countryside are just spectacular. A visually stunning golf course and one that you’ll remember for years to come.
Europe’s last home Ryder Cup was staged out-with the UK for only the second time. Following in the footsteps of the world famous Valderrama, where Captain Seve took Europe to victory, Le Golf National was the host to the Ryder Cup in 2018. Home to The French Open, and reopened in April 2016 following alterations, Hubert Chesnau and Robert von Hagge created this testing course out of fairly flat land. Stadium courses are becoming ever popular and this is the first of its kind in Europe. With water hazards on most holes and great vantage points for spectators, this is a golf course that is made for the tournament. Many of the features of the redesign were chosen due to the performances of the best players in the world as they played in the French Open and sustainability has been a key objective.
Here’s our complete list of all Ryder Cup host golf courses: www.allsquaregolf.com/golf-courses/ryder-cup-golf-courses