The Belfry


The Belfry's Brabazon course near Birmingham, England, will be the site of this year's Ryder Cup matches. The Belfry has been the site of three previous matches since 1985, the European host of all the tournaments except the 1997 affair.
The Belfry does not have the image of many of the great courses of Britain. It is a parkland course in a region full of outstanding links layouts, and it hasn't been in existence nearly as long as most of the great British courses. It was designed in 1977 with Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss as architects. Many think it is more typical of an American course than a British course, what with the streams and ponds that bring the water into play on half the course.
Check out the hole-by-hole layout at The Belfry
The Belfry starts innocently enough, with an opening drive straightaway that must negotiate an enlarged bunker on the right side. Number 6 plays between two large lakes. Number 9 must carry both a creek and a lake.
The most interesting hole on the course is the 10th, a 275-yarder across water. The skilled player will drive the green, though he will have a stream on one side, bushes on the other, and a clump of trees making this tightest driving hole seemingly in all of England. A much safer play is to lay up with an iron, for the pros generally a 5-iron, and to try to make birdie with a good wedge approach.
The 12th is a particularly good hole, a 233-yard par 3. The green is guarded on front with a stream and on both sides by a bunker.
The finale is particularly strong. The 460-yard hole can stretch longer if the pin is located on the top tier of the three-tier green. Players must carry water twice, both on the drive and on the difficult approach.
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches