The Europeans have already won the battle when it comes to Ryder Cup courses you can actually play. And like most recent matches, the Euros win this one, too, 6-4.
Nicklaus, Palmer, Weiskopf and Trevino (who won the 1972 Open here, top photo) led the U.S. to a six-point win in 1973, the only time the event was played in Scotland prior to this year. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers does welcome visitors, albeit on Tuesday and Thursday only (fourballs in the morning, alternate shot in the afternoons) for approximately $340.
Walton Heath Golf Club
Jack Nicklaus won all four of his matches (pairing with Tom Watson during three) to lead a star-studded U.S. team, which also included Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson and Ray Floyd, to a nine-point win here in 1981. You won’t be able to play the composite course of the Old and New layouts those two teams played, but either course ($235 on weekdays after 9:30 a.m., $284 on weekends) on its own is well worth the visit to this famed club just outside of London.
The 2010 Ryder Cup played on this resort’s Twenty Ten course was the rare one to end during the very last match (on a Monday no less due to poor weather), when Graeme McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan to give Europe a one-point victory, its fourth consecutive win at home. Green fees for next year are $175 (Monday to Thursday) and $289 (Friday to Sunday) although discounted rates are available on select dates.
Pinehurst No. 2
Not many people remember, but this year’s U.S. Open venue did host a Ryder Cup back in 1951, when the event was a two-day affair. The U.S. team, captained by Sam Snead, recorded its fifth consecutive win by a commanding 9½ to 2½ margin. For a mere $420, you can now play a course that probably looks a lot like it did in 1951 thanks to the well-received renovation of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
After the U.S. won by seven points here in 1965, the event returned just four years later and hosted the first tie in Ryder Cup history after Jack Nicklaus famously conceded a putt on the 18th hole to Tony Jacklin. Located on England’s northwest coast, Royal Birkdale will host its 10th Open Championship in 2017. Green fees range from $235 to $381.
Royal Lytham & St Annes
This two-time Ryder Cup venue was the site of two five-point wins for the U.S. in 1961 and 1977. The former was Arnold Palmer’s first Ryder Cup, where he earned three points overall and halved a singles match with Peter Alliss. Host of four Open championships, the club’s primary visitor days are Mondays and Thursdays ($292) but tee times may be available on other days (note, though, that the Saturday green fee is $438).
In 1997 the Ryder Cup was played for the first time in Continental Europe. The European team, captained by Seve Ballesteros, withstood a late comeback from the U.S., holding on for a one-point win. Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the layout in 1974 but performed an extensive renovation prior to the Ryder Cup. ($414 weekdays; $453 weekends)
The Greenbrier Course (not the Old White layout which currently hosts a PGA Tour event) was the site for the 1979 Ryder Cup played here, and it was the first to include players from continental Europe (namely Seve Ballesteros). That didn’t help much though with the USA winning easily by six points. Jack Nicklaus, who had renovated the Greenbrier course two years earlier, failed to make the 1979 team. $155–$275
PGA National Resort & Spa
Currently the host of an annual PGA Tour event, The Champion Course hosted the 1983 Ryder Cup. While the Europeans lost by a single point, it served as inspiration for their win the following year, the first since 1957 when the team was composed of British players only. The resort offers a Champion Golf Package ($229 until September 30th) that includes a round on The Champion Course, one night accommodation, and breakfast.
Ocean Course Kiawah
The infamous “War By the Shore” moniker was attached to the tense 1991 Ryder Cup played on this windswept Pete Dye design hard by the Atlantic Ocean. There may be no more dramatic moment in the event’s history than Bernhard Langer’s missed putt on 18, which clinched the win for the U.S. The Kiawah Ryder Cup package is a three-night, three-round offer (with one round on the Ocean Course, villa accommodations, team hats, and team shirts) for groups of 12 or more.