The Belfry Brabazon Course Review

Packed with history, there are plenty of thrills, especially at the two risk-reward holes that frame the back nine

The Belfry Brabazon Course Review
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Packed with history, there are plenty of thrills, especially at the two risk-reward holes that frame the back nine

The Belfry Brabazon Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 96

Previous Rankings

2019/20 - 87 2017/18 - 81 2015/16 - 80 2013/14 - 78 2011/12 - 80 2009/10 - 86

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Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,729 Yards

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The Belfry Brabazon Course Review

No course has played host to more Ryder Cups than The Brabazon at The Belfry: The great parkland track was the venue for four between 1985 and 2002.

The course is synonymous with the development of the European side and their emergence as a dominant force in the biennial tournament. Some of Team Europe’s greatest memories are rooted at the Belfry.

Are You A Fan Of The Belfry

10th hole at The Belfry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

Designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss, The Brabazon is known as one of Britain’s premier tournament courses.

With its well-positioned lakes, streams and bunkering, good course management is essential if you’re to score well here. It’s important to play for position off the tee, to consider the shape of each hole and the best side of the fairway to aim for.

Despite receiving a good deal of traffic, the layout is presented in great condition and the heavily sloping greens can become devilishly quick, demanding a silky touch.

There are many recognisable holes on the course but two of the most famous are: the short par-4 10th where the bold might attempt to drive over the ditch to the narrow green, in the style of Seve Ballesteros; and the testing 18th where water must be avoided on the left with the drive, then cleared with the second to find the putting surface.

It was here in the Ryder Cup of 1989 that Christy O’Connor Jnr fired a now legendary 2-iron in to three feet to beat Fred Couples.

4th hole at The Belfry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where so many golf courses fail to utilise water to the full potential the Belfry has it spot on.

Obviously there are the famous 10th and 18th holes.

But there are numerous strategically thrilling holes spread throughout the round, including the excellent 6th.

Here water lurks left from tee to green on this left-hand dog leg where risk and reward is an option by cutting the corner.

Assessor Feedback

An iconic course, it’s exciting to think the Brabazon has seen the very highest level of match play.

It’s great to play a course that brings back such memories of great moments. Unfortunately, the venue is perhaps a little too commercially focussed.

The Brabazon offers the average amateur the chance to follow in the footsteps of giants. Some great and iconic holes to negotiate.

GM Verdict

A superbly maintained parkland course that has tested the best players in the world. It’s a welcoming and enjoyable place to visit and play.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?