Luton Hoo To Rival Bolton In Race To Host Ryder Cup

Any Ryder Cup return could be between unlikely venues at Luton Hoo and Bolton with both ambitious projects underway

Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire has had approval to build a new golf course aimed at staging the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The possibility of the Ryder Cup coming to Bedfordshire moved a step closer after a proposal to build a golf course capable of staging the event was approved for Luton Hoo.

England has not staged the Ryder Cup since 2002 when The Belfry held the event for the fourth time, and up to now it seems any chance of a return rests with new courses being built in two unlikely spots in Luton or Bolton.

The luxury hotel at Luton Hoo already has a golf course that has staged an event on the PGA EuroPro Tour, but the venue has now received approval to turn it into "a new championship-level course worthy of hosting the Ryder Cup".

The Arora Group who runs Luton Hoo says bringing the Ryder Cup to Bedfordshire is a “realistic ambition” and add that staging the event would bring in hundreds of millions to the local economy.

Local councillors said the benefits of the work outweighed potential problems building on green belt land – adding that even if the ambitious plans to stage the Ryder Cup failed the new course could still "attract significant competitions" and make Luton Hoo a "very attractive venue" for golf events.

It’s not the only ambitious and surprising bid being launched to try and attract the Ryder Cup though, with a proposed venue in Bolton battling to hold the biennial event despite opposition from the local council.

The £240m project at Hulton Park would see an 18-hole championship golf course and over 1,000 houses built, with the aim also to attract the golfing gladiators from Team USA and Europe to fight it out in the Bolton area.

Developers Peel L&P finally got the go-ahead for the project last year after winning an appeal against the local council’s planning committee, who had rejected the plan, and the developers say their Bolton project would be a frontrunner for an English Ryder Cup.

“Different countries have always been bidding to host the Ryder Cup tournament and should another nation be chosen to host the 2031 championship, we will continue to promote Hulton Park for any prospective 2035 English bid,” Peel L&P director Richard Knight said back in January.

How a regenerated Hulton Park would look

Developers of Hulton Park in Bolton are confident they could stage the Ryder Cup

(Image credit: Peel)

“Hulton Park remains a shortlisted venue in any bid to host an English Ryder Cup in 2031 or 2035, having gone through a joint selection process with UK Sport and Ryder Cup Europe, which concluded that the venue could meet the hosting criteria.

“While other venues have announced ambitions to enter the process, we remain convinced that the huge regeneration potential of our plans and particularly the ability of a brand-new iconic venue to contribute to levelling up, make Bolton the most compelling choice of location to bring the Ryder Cup back to England.”

It means Luton Hoo, and reported interest from Kent venue The London Club, could well struggle to topple Bolton’s bid to stage the biggest event in golf.

Any English bids for the 2031 or 2035 Ryder Cups could also face Spanish rivals, with PGA Catalunya near Barcelona, now known as Camiral Golf and Wellness and a previous host of the Spanish Open, thought to be interested.

There was some surprise when a new venue at Celtic Manor got to stage the Ryder Cup in 2010, but that turned out to be a fantastic event, despite of the weather, and now an established golfing destination and tournament host.

It’d be even more surprising though if the Ryder Cup ended up being staged in Luton or Bolton, with either of those becoming a hot new golfing venue in England.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.