The Ryder Cup only comes around every two years. It’s difficult to wait for all of the drama, patriotic fervor, tension and excitement that engulfs this phenomenal event. An engaging way to spend the interval time is by playing Ryder Cup courses that are accessible to the public.
PGA.com named five great Ryder Cup courses you can play, including the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles and the Champion Course at PGA National Resort—two Jack Nicklaus designs.
Set in the heart of Scotland at the traditional Gleneagles Resort, the PGA Centenary Course designed by Jack Nicklaus hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup matches. Spectacular countryside, hill and mountain views in the distance and superb playing conditions highlight the playing experience. At times wildly undulating, the course has both American and Scottish touches, making it a distinctive test of golf skills. Paul McGinley led the Europeans to a 16½–11½ triumph over Tom Watson and the Americans. Nicklaus was on hand during the matches and was awarded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour in advance of the final day of competition. He also received an honor from the governing bodies for his long-time contributions to The Ryder Cup.
Site of the 1983 Ryder Cup, the Jack Nicklaus-redesigned Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., opened in 1981. The course, now home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, demands a great short game. Many of the greens are undulating and surrounded by trouble, from deep bunkers to mounds and dark lagoons. The Champion’s 15th through 17th holes, dubbed “The Bear Trap,” comprise one of the toughest stretches of finishing holes in golf. During the 1983 matches, Jack Nicklaus was the American captain and Tony Jacklin captained the European team as the USA won 14½–13½. Nicklaus first redesigned the layout in 1990—seven years after he captained the 1983 matches there. That year, the Golden Bear led Team USA to victory 14½–13½.
Jack Nicklaus played in six Ryder Cups (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, and 1987), and captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1983 and 1987.
Other courses named to PGA.com’s list of Five Ryder Cup Courses You Can Play are Course at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales (2010); Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in Charleston, S.C. (1991); and Royal Birkdale in Southport, England (1965 and 1969).