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The Dirty Little Secret About The Ryder Cup

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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.

Gleneagles' PGA Centenary course is Scottish by location, but it plays American-soft and was designed by an American in Jack Nicklaus. (Courtesy of Gleneagles)

Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary course is Scottish by location, but it plays American-soft and was designed by an American in Jack Nicklaus. (Courtesy of Gleneagles)

Need proof?

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:

The King's Course at Gleneagles has a distinctly different--and far more traditional--look than its more famous PGA Centenary Course.

The King’s Course at Gleneagles has a distinctly different–and far more traditional–look than its more famous PGA Centenary Course. (Courtesy of Gleneagles)

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?

Certainly not!

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.

53 Comments

  1. Steve Watson

    September 30, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I agree with you. If you want to play links courses then don’t play Ryder cup courses. In fact since the competition’s inception in 1927 it has been played on only four links courses (admittedly on Royal & Lytham St Annes twice). So out of 19 British events that’s about 75% that have been played on parkland, heathland or other types of course. Not much of a dirty little secret really!!
    I think it’s the Open that tends to be played on links courses and of course that does need a completely different set of golfing skills.

  2. Pat O'Donoghue

    September 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Hi,
    I live in Ireland and am a keen golfer.

    The best ‘links’ experience would be Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare and Portmarnock in County Dublin. Another fantastic world famous course would be Ballybunion in County Kerry and of course Killarney Golf Course too. Fota Island in County Cork, where the Irish Open was played recently with over 100,000 spectators is another fantastic course. Anyhow you have over 300 golf courses to choose from and we Irish will make your visit memorable!!

  3. Tom Chambers

    September 30, 2014 at 7:34 am

    First of all I don’t like your title, it undermines the Ryder Cup.
    Yes you are correct on your assessment that the past four (4) Ryder Cup courses are not Links but rather Inland Park courses.
    One point to note they did play a links course in Kiawah Island in the USA but on this side of the pond they are trying to make it a even playing field for all players from Europe and the USA.
    Finally Europe again won the Ryder Cup with great play by all the players but don’t forget they was some spectacular golf played by the USA Team and we should be grateful that we can attend such prestigious events home and away.

  4. Peter

    September 30, 2014 at 7:40 am

    If you want ‘linksy’ type courses there are three (amongst others) which are virtually next to one another in the county of Kent on the South coast of England:- Royal St George’s, Princes and then there’s Littlestone. Any of these will give you an idea of proper links golf. The first two have been used for Open Championships and the later is an ‘eliminator course’ to sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

  5. Owen

    September 30, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I wonder if America won , I am sure none of these remarks would ever be heard, Phi “s comments wow, not the right time for such comments. Reedy said it right , and played well , even with his poor finger comments.
    POOR YANKS ,
    shut up and move on ,

  6. Bill Breen

    September 30, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Gentlemen

    I’ve been to Scotland dozens of times and played at least 18 courses there from 1984-2013 (re turning Oct 18-25). All were true links, except for Gleneagles Kings.

    I couldn’t agree with you more !

    A better venue for a Ryder Cup might be Carnoustie or Royal Aberdeen (& one of these days it would be great to see something meaningful happen at Cruden Bay, where my ashes will be sprinkled).

    J. William Breen
    Mt Pleasant SC

  7. Lynn Pammett

    September 30, 2014 at 7:56 am

    You will still get Scottish and Irish weather.

  8. Kevin P. Hogge

    September 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Being from the Emerald Isle I couldn’t agree more, we have fantastic links courses all over the British Isles unfortunately most European Tour events are not played on links courses other than the British Open and occasionally the Irish Open. So the tour professionals are much more at home on non links courses.
    I would encourage your readers to experience true links golf and not always the well known ones, which are excellent, some of our lesser known links are a great joy to play and a great test of golf.
    Yours Sincerely
    Kevin P. Hogge
    Dublin
    Ireland

  9. Jeremy Hall Merit Golf Vacations

    September 30, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Finally somebody else who has got the message across! Scotland, Ireland and England golf trips are planned 9 times out of 10 as a dream golf vacation. That dream usually means typically the courses would feature what we have seen on television at the Open Championship, a.k.a, heather, gorse, unplayable rough and of course the ocean! Gleneagles is a fantastic resort that will leave a big hole in your wallet and may not provide the full package as described above. Think about the English Golf Coast as a possible alternative.. Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham and St Annes, Royal Liverpool all offering the Open and links experience and add to the list Formby, Southport and Ainsdale, Hillside .. to offer a complete and competitive package. All just a couple of hours from London.

  10. Jonathan Shapiro

    September 30, 2014 at 8:07 am

    I still don’t have any idea what you’re talking about? Where’s the ‘dirty little secret’? Gleneagles, Celtic Manor, The K Club and The Belfry are not links resorts and don’t claim to be. What point are you trying to make?

    Jonathan

  11. Dan Dunn

    September 30, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Terrific observation. I visited Gleneagles several times in the mid 90’s when what is now being called the Centenery Course first opened. Its original name was the Monarch’s course.
    It was so American it had cart paths…something that the caddies were none too pleased with.
    Gleneagles is a must visit destination on any Scottish golf trip…but its two must play courses are the King’s and Queen’s.

  12. Kevin Markham

    September 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Too true… over here (in Ireland), there was an outcry when the K Club was chosen. Not only was it an ‘American-style’ course that many thought would play into the hands of the American Ryder Cup team, but we have such great links courses, surely that was the obvious place to host the event.
    It came down to money – pure and simple. Both the K Club and Celtic Manor ‘bought’ the Ryder Cup, by hosting a European Tour event on the courses for a number of years – 10 in the case of The K Club. And so it will continue.
    I find it bizarre that an event that pays no money to the competing Professionals is now one of the most commercialised events in the world of golf.

  13. Frank

    September 30, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I have played all the courses at Gleneagles and found the Queens and Kings courses to be harder than the Centenary even though they are far shorter as they are tighter and less forgiving. There are more undulations in the fairways and a missed fairway was almost an assured lost shot.

  14. Geoff Barr

    September 30, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I have only played the regular courses in Europe. I played Carne course at Belmullet in co Mayo this year with my Irish nephew. the rough was so deep and thick, if you went off the fairway you lost the ball. That together with 30MPH winds and heavy scttered downpours made avery memorable round.
    A couple of years ago i played at Marple near Manchester and also in Overstrand in Norfolk which was a real links course.
    All 3 of these couses were very different from the varied couses I play in my adopted home in Michigan, and were all very enjoyable – a different challenge. HCP 18

  15. peter menzies

    September 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Having played some of the courses in Scotland but all of the most famous courses in Ireland.Ihave played over 35 in both countries and have only played 2 parkland courses They were in Killarney Ireland.Ihave had more fun and it is cheaper by searching out venues that are not what I call over priced tourist destinations.These courses are raved about by the pros and golf announcers all of whom as we know pay nothing to play.Our last trip to Ireland we played ten courses in ten days most of which were in the northwest.Members courses which were in good shape and had great links layouts.It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would want to go that far to play parkland courses that we probably belong to in North America or play regularly.
    And that is the rest of the story
    Peter Menzies.London Canada

  16. John

    September 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Just finished our Scotland golf trip this past Augusr, played the Jubliee, New and Castle course in St. Andrews. Walked the old course on Sunday when it is closed to Golf. 35 MPH wind most days, fog and showers most days. Great links golf. Played Royal Aberdeen golf club then Cruden Bay ( best Old Tom Morris experience ever). 40 mph wind gusts at Royal Aberdeen ( tough day) Cruden bay was sunny and warm, no wind..
    Played Tain golf club in the Highlands, nice weather tougher links course but playable.
    Finished up at DonDonald and Braiseerr in Troon, raining and windy both rounds just like you plan on in Scotland. Greatest links golf trip since playing similar tracks in Ireland.

  17. Jim Mackrell

    September 30, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I would recommend Siloth Golf Club – on the Irish Sea aboyut an hour drive from the Lakes District. this is real Links Golf.

  18. George Duffy

    September 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I was lucky enough to play golf iScotland in 2010 and recently in August 2014, I also played in Ireland in 2012.

    I played the Ryder Cup Centenary course(yes designed by Jack Nicklaus) on both visits.I found the rough very difficult which did not come across with these pros who were able to deal with it. The Gleneagles Hotel though old was grande.

    In my travels I enjoyed the Scotish golf more than Ireland even though I am Irish. I would strongly recommend the following courses St Andrews Old of course, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, North Berwick AND Gleneagles. In Ireland I found Portmarnock the most difficult course EVER with howling winds and punitive fescue. I did love Ballybunion and Old Head, but found the K Club unexciting. I hope this helps. Under any circumstances, if you visit Scotland you must figure out a way to get on the Old Course. The history overwhelms you.

  19. Andy Dennahy

    September 30, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I agree with the point you are making. The Ryder Cup courses are much more ‘manufactured’ and set up by design to be suited to match play. Courses like the Belfry are excellent if you are playing a tight 4 ball competition with your mates as many of the holes have a high risk and reward factor to them depending on whether you play safe or go for it. If you are just playing these courses normally and assessing a course purely on its merits as top golf course you might be a bit disappointed. Great competition at the weekend, some of the golf was blistering. Wow!

  20. Ron Ariana

    September 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It’s probably not coincidence that the Euros choose an ‘American-like’ course, since most of their players play on ‘our’ tour and live in America. They get home course advantage regardless of who is hosting.
    The problem with the U.S.Ryder Cup team is they show up with a disjointed team and plays that way. And the uniforms??? While the Euros choose neat, trendy colors and designs, we farm our design out to a big name (Ralph Lauren) who’s out for a profit, and comes up with the most garish designs and color schemes. From a Ryder Cup trophy and American flag on the fronts, to the ugliest red pants for Sunday’s final with blue and white stripe shirts. “Yeah, let’s make them look like they’re wearing an American flag, that’ll do it!”

  21. Bob

    September 30, 2014 at 9:43 am

    It is money which dictates the venue for the Ryder Cup. The quality of the course does not enter into it.

  22. Paul Burton

    September 30, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I have often wondered why the Euopeans don’t select a links course to play the Ryder Cup. I would have thought it would be of great advantage. Having said that, I can now see that with so many Euopean players playing in the US and primarily on North American style courses on the Euopean Tour, there really would be little if any. As for experiencing links golf, it should not be missed given the opportunity.
    Paul Burton

  23. Scotty

    September 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Theres lots of great courses in greater UK. Links, Heath, Park style. All are pretty evident if you peruse the descriptions. As for a lifetime trip? try a few of each. The usual “Royals” some with Dormy House availability, some even within hours of London and readily available by train. Others up north, take train to Edinburgh, do 3-4 there, then B&B at St Andrews, and finally rent a car and try Dornoch and work back thru Cruden Bay and Carnoustie (and others). Links only happen by the seaside, thats the first clue, everything else is just mimicry. Not exactly a secret is it? Still Gleneagles once you get past the price, is probably worth two days and a night over? Damned by faint praise?

  24. Kymberley

    September 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I played Celtic manor last Monday, ie a week before Gleneagles became the Ryder cup course.

    I played the Roman Road course not the 2010 course used for the Cup.

    This was more like an American course with open fairways and thick second cut rough.

    Also carts were available which may not be the case for other British courses. I also had to hire sticks since I only played 1 game of golf on a 3 1/2 week trip that had me in Japan, England, Wales and Scotland.

    Its not cheap though – 35 pounds for stick hire (T-M SLDRs – set of 11 clubs) and the same for a cart, so well over $100 before you start looking at green fees, accommodation etc.

  25. David

    September 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    First Gleneagles Centenary course is American design(Jack) and therefore not in anyway a traditional Scottish course. Kings and Queens are two of the most enjoyable inland courses and are a sensible counter balance to Centenary. Anyone visiting who does not play one or other has missed a wonderful experience. Watching the mist clear as the sun illuminates the heather hills is absolutely magic.
    Second it is not always easy to define a traditional links course. Do you insist on seriously undulating fairways or will you accept some that are relatively flat and not true links land? I play some ancient links which have a mixture of both but I do not feel that this in anyway spoils the experience. I enjoy knowing that I am walking in golfing history and people who play Ryder Cup courses are in effect walking in the footsteps of our heroes.

  26. Geoff

    September 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Oh! you poor things all moaning about our courses, You were well beaten by a better team why don’t you accept defeat with good grace. If you do not like it over here don’t come it doesn’t bother us if big mouthed supporters from over the water are not here you’re just a load of whiners.

  27. Nigel Marshall

    September 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Dirty little secret! – what’s the secret? Scotland like England, Ireland and Wales has great examples of all types of course. Gleneagles is located in a magnificent part of Scotland and I’m certain that all who attended had a great time. even Phil. No one complained about the Centenerary Course. It looked magnificent and it challenged and delighted the fans. It was an enthralling sporting event that captured all that watched it. I’m fortunate to be a member of Royal links course but loved experience of playing the Queens at Gleneagles last month. Golf in Scotland – the home of golf will always be special – try Askernish for the ultimate authentic links experience. It will provide the baseline for all your golf thereafter! Check it out.

  28. Jon Heisler

    September 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Over the past 18 years our group has visited and played golf on most of the classic links courses in the UK & Ireland. Your observations about the European Ryder Cup Venues are spot on.

    However, the reason for selecting these parkland style resorts as venues has much more to do with logistics, corporate sponsorhips, capacity and ease of viewership than quality of golf.

    I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that there are dozens of links courses in the UK & Ireland that are far superior to the K Club, Celtic Manor, The Belfry or Gleneagles. They simply don’t lend themselves very well to staging a huge event like the Ryder Cup and maximizing all of the revenue generating opportunities that come along with it. Simple as that.

  29. Nigel Marshall

    September 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Jon is absolutely right about accommodating the event. Communications etc etc are vital. 50 thousand spectators on the first hole is a lot of people to accommodate on a course. It took 16 years of preparation to get it right. Whether that was only about maximising revenue opportunities – well I don’t know – I’d rather hope it was not the main driver.

  30. Jim J

    September 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Abso-farking-lutely! Why is the Ryder Cup not played at parkland courses in the USA, links courses in the UK and Ireland, and seaside courses on the European continent? Wouldn’t that make it more interesting?

  31. Tom S

    September 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I am now in my eighties and have played golf since age 14 having enjoyed a plus 2 handicap at one time. Now struggling on 18.
    I agree with Pat O’Donoghue that La Hinch is one of the great links experiences and a must visit if you are planning a golfing tour. At the same time do not miss Ballybunion or Kilarney.
    In Scotland a round on the Old Course at St. Andrews is a must for the share history of the place. Also Carnoustie. I played there in the days of the infamous Captain as Sec/manager and who had a fierce reputation for keeping as many people as possible from playing “his sacred links”. Having read about him in the internet, I wrote him a letter trying to book a round. The reply was to phone him when I was in the vicinity, which I did to find he had relatives in New Zealand and he seemed well disposed to me. When I phoned him late in the day before I was to arrive there he asked when I wanted to play and when I said tomorrow, he responded “:good God man we are busy tomorrow, however come along at 9am and I’ll fit you in.
    On arrival a quaint general factotum type fellow “greeted” me cooly, but when I told him I was booked in he said “Oh you must be Mr Stooot, give me your clubs and change in the locker room. He soon arrived there to announce that the Captain wished to see me so off we went to find him strolling around with his black labrador. We had a good chat then he took me outside, pointed out the first tee and told me Dr (name i regrettably forget, but a lovely gentleman) a member was hitting off before me and I should follow him, indeed if I were to hit up on him he may ask me to join him. Why he did not introduce us I shall never know. Any after hitting his second to the first hole he did wave me up and asked if I wished to join him, apologising for his 18 handicap. I was very glad to have someone show me around, especially someone who had followed Tom Watson’s every step the year before when the Open Championship was played there. It turned out to be a wonderful day.
    Golf is like that. Wonderful and sometimes lasting friendships following that first round of golf.

  32. Curtiss mull

    September 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I agree. I always play the lesser known old courses in both Scotland and Ireland . You get the real feel for what links golf is all about without the feel of being on an American course. Why go all that way and pay the big bucks as well just to say that you played the Ryder cup courses. Of course that is what a lot of Americans like to do.

  33. Martin

    October 1, 2014 at 3:11 am

    I think many are missing the point that for the Ryder Cup to be successful you need to cater for 50,000 spectators each day. I was at Gleneagles on the weekend and the contour of the course lends itself to spectator viewing at almost every hole. A traditional links course is good for TV but not so good for the crowd as once it is three deep at the rope you see very little. It is way too flat for a large number of spectators. Full credit to Gleneagles for a magnificently run event. All praise to the European team who showed that golfing maturity beats most young guns in a long race. Rory was outstanding and Poulter walks on water!

  34. Peter L

    October 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

    The article is a little presumptious; since when has the Kings Course been “lesser known” than the PGA course at Gleneagles? Durr……..history and play by the general public makes a course better and better known, not the designer`s name and a big budget. Plus why keep playing on inland/parkland courses? All of the best players in the world have much experience of playing links golf.
    I went to watch the Ryder Cup at the K Club in 2007; did I think it represented golf in Ireland? No definitely not. It felt like it could have been anywhere in Northern Europe or North America.
    Peter L

  35. Howie

    October 1, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I think the European golfers are better at playing in all conditions compared to the Americans who play in near perfect conditioins most weeks in the USA. Most of our USA golfing clients from around the world play parkland, heathland and links courses when they are in the UK including all three Gleneagles courses, the Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Aberdeen, Turnberry, Muirfield, Royal Troon, Lytham St Annes, The Belfry, Wentworth and many more, they enjoy using their imagination to play all kinds of shots on different types of courses and in all weather conditions.

  36. LT

    October 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Gleneagles was not a dirty little secret. There is nothing “dirty” about the place. It’s a fabulous venue in which to see the breathtaking beauty of Scotland’s countryside. Having been there, I was very pleased to see it again on TV. With regard to golf, the reason why the pros played Gleneagles’ Centenary course had nothing to do with whether the course is a links or parkland course. The pros will play any course that can attract and accommodate huge crowds, which it did.

  37. Rodger

    October 1, 2014 at 11:30 am

    You would think the US would be advantaged with “American” style courses. But the top European contenders play a lot on US soil anyway. Advantage: neither team.

  38. Colin Scott

    October 2, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I’ve just come back from the UK and Northern Ireland playing all 14 courses that have ever hosted The Open and wouldn’t go within a bull’s roar of any ‘American-style’ course in the UK or Ireland while there are so many fabulous links courses to play. I’m not a fan of Nicklaus courses anyway (well groomed but too formulaic) and I’m still trying to understand why this last Ryder Cup was played on one. Was it a sop to the Yanks? Wouldn’t they take on a links course? If so that’s pathetic given the Europeans have had to endure tricked up marshmallow American courses for years. I have played the K Club and in 1994 played one of the few Nicklaus courses i’ve really enjoyed (Mt Juliet in Ireland) but give me a good old links course any day!

  39. David Boyle

    October 2, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Agree that $ calls the shots, should be Links courses most of time when in UK/Ireland, who cares for sameness of N American design, overwhelmingly Parkland – could be anywhere! As originally designed in Scotland, Links is skill and some luck re lies etc., bring that into the supposedly non commercial Ryder Cup. And I’ve been to 5, despite commercialism ( where does the $ profits go?), including Oak Hill decidedly spectator unfriendly, greatest test was Kiawah, forget The Belfry, will only go as spectator again if Links venue chosen. It’s all about $ – so sad.

  40. Ronald Casaceli

    October 8, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Play the Ryder Cup at a complex which has 3 great courses,or in very close proximity,this will add a further dimension.A different course each day will create new ideas.

  41. Ken Patton

    October 9, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    The first Peter is right littlestone, Prince’s, and Royal Cinque Ports are at the top of my list of links experiences which includes pretty much all of the above. in the uk and the Irish Republic.

  42. Pat Bourke

    October 14, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Links/Parkland/Heathland….it’s all golf and the two sides had the players that can do the busines on any type of course. Don’t get so hung up on links. Myself I can’t stand it… you mention fun in your opening statement, more like frustrating.

  43. Kieran Ruttledge

    October 14, 2014 at 11:27 am

    For the best links experience you have to go to south west Ireland. I notice many of the links courses in England are predominantly flat, however for real sand dunes and a different topography altogether the best place is South West Ireland. Magnificent golf courses like Tralee, Ballybunion, Waterville, Lahinch etc are the marquee courses backed up by great second tier courses like Dingle, Dooks and a host of nine hole courses.
    My personal favourite is Tralee with a view of the Atlantic on every hole, designed by Arnold Palmer it is a magnificent track.

  44. Chuck Richardson

    October 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Once you have played links golf on the west coast of Ireland you’ll have a hard time playing parkland courses again. If you are going to Ireland skip the Ballybunnions and Lahinch and play courses like Connemara, Carne and Enniscrone – – just as good and one third the price. If you’re on the west coast of the US don’t miss Bandon Dunes.

  45. John McKendry

    October 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Just returned from a golf excursion in C. Kerry. Couldn’t agree more with the many comments herein. Same old story. If you want to find the best secrets in golf you have to get off the beaten track regardless of where you are in the UK or Ireland. Adding to courses named, definitely include: Tralee, Waterville & Dooks in Kerry. Where the old game was really meant to be played.

  46. Pieter

    November 11, 2014 at 4:41 am

    As a European and long time golfer I lived in the British Isles for many years. If you want traditional golf you must visit the birthplace of the oldest major in the world “Prestwick” Although the course has lost some holes it is probably the best historic experience you ever have together with the old course of St Andrews.
    Further just go to any Scottish, Irish or English course that is on the coastland – linksland and has not been build recently. You find it entralling and a lovey way to find golf as it used to be.

  47. Peter B

    September 30, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Not true of some of the older Ryder cup courses though – Ganton for example. It would be well worth playing all the home courses prior to about 1970 for a proper Britain and Ireland experience, though none of them are links courses.

  48. tui4stui

    September 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    good observation but no secret at all. need to check out Ryder cup course/venue selection criteria but clearly a committee decision based on numerous factors with logistics and accessibility along with some input from influential player members of the European tour at the time in the mix.
    Would like to see more tradition adopted and some of the renowned Open circuit links venues of past and present in with a shout although not always favoured by all the Pros or pragmatic in terms of facilities infrastructure required to successfully managing a tournament of this stature .

  49. Mick

    September 30, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    So we are mostly in agreement then guys. It’s a questionable article with a crappy headline.

  50. Will Davis

    September 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I played two of the courses mentioned….Gleneagles Kings and the K Club. Both are more like American courses. Good but hardly links in any sense. I will also agree with the Irishman’s comment about Lahinch…a great links course. Play it if you possibly can.

    These comments will also always have a snarky comment from a Brit about how they have dominated the Ryder Cup. “They” haven’t. Before all of Europe made up their team, the US dominated the UK.

    IMHO, the Cup should be played on a links course when it’s in the UK and an American style layout when in the US. Americans can certainly play links courses. A cursory look at the last 30 or so winners of the Open Championship proves that.

  51. Kieran

    October 1, 2016 at 10:21 am

    This is a rather poor article. What arrogance to suggest that any golf course which isn’t a links is American ! What ignorance to suggest that anyone planning a golf trip to the British Isles should plan only on Links courses to get a British experience. There are hundreds of good golf courses of differing types and that variety should be valued. Its also true that there are some links courses in the USA too -one of my favourites is Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach.

  52. Alan Bennett-Brown

    October 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Best 36 holes of links in South West England is definitely Saunton GC both East and West. Good enough to host an Open, however no rad infrastructure the main reason why it has not.

  53. Mick

    October 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I’m with you Kireran. Why is this article still on the website ?????????

    BTW. Definitely agree with Alan about Staunton.

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