Andrew Noyce
By Andrew Noyce

The golf courses that have hosted the Ryder Cup in Europe are a collection of many different styles of course, from classic links to modern parkland, and in four different countries. This European Ryder Cup golf course guide gives you the lowdown on where the matches have been played and links you to the courses on which you can enjoy the experience of playing a Ryder Cup golf course.

The first Ryder Cup in Great Britain was played at Moortown in 1929, a match the home side won 7 points to 5, whilst the following two matches, in 1933 and 1937, were also contested in the North of England, over the links of Southport and Ainsdale.

Following the Second World War the matches first returned to these shores in 1949 when the course at Ganton played host. In 1953 one of the most famous matches was held over the Wentworth West Course with the home side coming agonisingly close to upsetting the Americans. This was finally achieved the next time the Ryder Cup was played for on home soil, with the Welshman Dai Rees, captaining Great Britain & Ireland to a famous victory at the Lindrick Golf Club in Nottinghamshire.

1961 saw a period of the matches being hosted on the some of the famous Open Championship links courses. Royal Lytham & St Annes was the venue in both 1961 and 1977, the first Scottish Ryder Cup was held Muirfield in 1973, whilst Royal Birkdale witnessed the battles of 1963 and 1969, the latter the occasion of a famous halved match with Jack Nicklaus conceding a putt to Tony Jacklin on the final green.

1981 saw a formidable American team travel to England to face a European team for the first time on home soil at Walton Heath and the team that was hailed as the greatest ever assembled recorded a convincing victory.

1985 witnessed a sea change in both the competitive balance of the matches, with the Europeans beginning a period of dominance and a move away from more traditional courses to a new American style layout at the Belfry Brabazon golf course built and owned by The PGA, the then governing body responsible for the matches.

As a result the Belfry, a course whose 10th and 18th holes are ideally suited to the dramatic match play format, was also host venue in 1989, 1993 and 2002.

The matches made history in 1997 when they left the shores of Great Britain for Continental Europe for the first time. Severiano Ballesteros, catalyst for the European resurgence in the 1980’s, was a fitting captain as the Ryder Cup visited the immaculate course of Valderrama in southern Spain.

In 2004 this oversea trend continued with the Ryder Cup making its first trip to Ireland and the K Club Palmer Coursenear Dublin, where the Irish supporters roared the home team to a convincing victory.

The Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor hosted the dramatic European victory in 2010 in wet conditions as Colin Montgomerie lead the team, featuring 6 first time players, to a one point victory during a rain-delayed Monday finish.

The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles, designed with the thrill of the matches in mind, is lined up for 2014 with Le Golf National hosting the event, in 2018, for the first time in France.