If you’re getting ready to spend a bunch of hours watching the Ryder Cup like I will be, you might be reflecting back on the 2014 edition at Gleneagles in Scotland.
(And if not, you’re certainly going to be seeing plenty of replays from two years ago.)
Unlike Hazeltine (where you must know a member and be invited to play as a guest), you can play the most recent European host venue for this big-time international event.
In fact, in the UK and Ireland, you can play virtually all of the courses that have hosted it.
But there’s a dirty little secret nobody ever talks about on TV (or anywhere else for that matter).
And it’s something you must know if you have any plans on playing across the pond.
If you just want the secret, here it is:
At certain Ryder Cup courses in the British Isles and Ireland, the playing experience is more “American” than British, Scottish or Irish.
Let’s take a look at the last four Europe-hosted Ryder Cups at Gleneagles in Scotland, Celtic Manor in Wales, the K Club in Ireland, and the Belfry in England.
Now, if you’re at all familiar with these destinations, you know they’re famous for…
Links golf: the original firm, fast — and fun — ground-based game.
But these last few Ryder Cup courses in Europe couldn’t have been further from links golf.
You can see from the picture above that no one in their right golfing mind would ever confuse Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course with a links, for which Scotland–nay, the whole of Great Britain and Ireland–is so well beloved of golfers.
Now check out the pic below:
In Gleneagles’ case, you’d be best off playing their other two courses, the King’s and Queen’s Courses. Now there are two layouts that will give you a more authentic Scottish golf experience, even if the resort is a bit inland.
And the two European Ryder Cup sites before that, Celtic Manor in Wales and the K Club in Ireland?
Of their combined 36 holes, 23 have water in play.
Not exactly “linksy,” if you ask me.
This is “the dirty little secret” about some of the UK and Ireland’s Ryder Cup sites.
Does it mean these resorts are bad? That their golf courses are bad?
The point I’m making is this: if you go to any of these resorts looking for a “British Isles and Ireland golf experience,” you should play their other courses instead of their “Ryder Cup Course.”
Have you played any European Ryder Cup sites, or have you played anywhere where the experience was very different from what you were expecting?
And given the Americanness of these recent European Ryder Cup sites, wouldn’t you think Team USA would play a little better?!
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.