Large buddies groups love playing Ryder Cup-style, multi-day team events on their golf vacations. And what could be more epic than playing a Ryder Cup match on a former (or future) Ryder Cup venue?
The Ryder Cup matches, initially staged in 1927, have been held on a mix of exclusive private courses (mostly in the U.S.), traditional clubs in the Europe with public access and a handful of resort courses. In the U.S., the publicly accessible venues are all multi-course golf resorts that, to this day, rank among the country's most coveted properties.
There are four U.S. venues that are open to the public. That number will increase to five with the addition of Bethpage Black in 2025. The PGA of America's move to Frisco, Texas also means we can expect a Ryder Cup at the new Omni Frisco PGA facility (nothing has been confirmed but speculation is its date will be 2041).
Virtually all of the European venues permit some level of public access, though Wentworth Golf Club (1953 host) in Surrey, south of London, generally does not welcome non-affiliated guest play. While links courses are a staple of The Open rota, the European Tour has generally opted for parkland venues, and have also begun adding more continental European countries to the mix, beginning with Spain in 1997, France in 2018 and, in 2023, Italy.
Here is a rundown of all the Ryder Cup venues on both sides of the pond that offer public access. GolfPass travel books stay-and-play packages to several of these clubs and we've provided a link to itinerary details below.
USA Ryder Cup venues you can play
Straits Course at Whistling Straits (2021)
Following a one-year delay due to COVID-19, Whistling Straits, a three-time PGA Championship host, now brings the Ryder Cup to Wisconsin. Inspired by Ireland's links, the Straits is a monstrous effort by Pete Dye with ribbon fairways surrounded by countless sharp mounds and bunkers, not to mention one of the most dramatic collections of par 3s in golf. How will this Lake Michigan marvel stack up to the 1991 "War By the Shore" at Dye's Ocean Course at Kiawah Island? Green fees: $410 (+$65 caddie fee)
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (1991)
Opened just in time for the 1991 Matches, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island hosted one of the most intense matches of all time. It all came down to a 6-foot putt by Bernhard Langer, which missed and gave the cup to the Americans. The Ocean Course's setup has since been dialed in and softened for resort players. It most recently staged the 2021 PGA Championship, which featured an unlikely champion in 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, now the oldest major winner ever. Walking is typically encouraged and caddies are included in the green fee (excluding tip). Green fees: $373-$463 (+$100 recommended caddie gratuity)
The Champion at PGA National (1983)
At the relatively new Champion Course (originally designed by Tom Fazio), the U.S. team narrowly edged the newly competitive Europeans with Jack Nicklaus as captain. Lanny Wadkins' wedge shot on the 18th hole to a foot compelled Nicklaus to go kiss the ground Wadkins hit the shot from. Nicklaus has since updated The Champion, which now hosts the PGA Tour's Honda Classic and regarded as one of the most difficult courses on Tour. Green fees: $250-400
The Greenbrier Course at The Greenbrier (1979)
1979 was the first year the Ryder Cup's GB&I team was expanded to Continental Europe (After all, Great Britain hadn't won since 1957). The fabled Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia brought the matches to the mountains. While TPC Old White has been a recent PGA Tour host course, it was The Greenbrier Course, redesigned by Jack Nicklaus prior to the matches, that hosted the event. Recent floods have damaged the 18-hole course and it is currently a 10-hole loop with a routing that can be played as 18 holes. Green fees: $175-275
European Ryder Cup venues you can play
Albatros Course at Le Golf National (2018)
Who doesn't remember the harrowing rough and forced water carries of Le Golf National? The U.S. team never really stood a chance in this one thanks to a crafty setup of the Albatros that all but eliminated any length advantage the Americans had. This venue outside Paris is also a regular European Tour stop and is open to the public daily. Green fees: €200-220
PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles (2014)
Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland is home to one of the great golf hotels in the world, and it's only about a 90-minute drive to St. Andrews. While the matches were held on the long and modern Jack Nicklaus design, the older King's and Queen's courses designed by James Braid charm any golfer. So can the Wee Course outside the hotel. Green fees: £200-300
Celtic Manor (2010)
It's not always rainy in Wales, we promise. But the much-anticipated Welsh debut as host of the matches at this revamped parkland near Cardiff was mired in torrential downpours. The course sits in a scenic valley with a dramatic closing stretch built for match play, while the hotel is hands-down Wales' best multi-course resort and home to two other 18s. Green fees: £169-191
Palmer North at the K Club (2006)
Ireland's 2006 hosting brought the event to the new and lavish K Club, a modern parkland design outside Dublin with renowned luxury accommodations and amenities. That the course was designed by American Arnold Palmer didn't mean much in the matches, as Europe trounced the USA team 18.5 to 9.5. Green fees: €145-175
Brabazon Course at The Belfry (2002, 1993, 1989, 1985)
No venue has held the matches more times than The Belfry, a resort outside Birmingham, England (The Americans only won here once). The Brabazon Course is a parkland course designed in 1977 by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss, and later refreshed in the 1990s. It has more water and drama than just about any inland course in Britain. Christie O'Connor's 2-iron to four feet in 1989 is one of the most clutch shots in the event's storied history. "History of the course is matched by the layout," wrote reviewer PowellDog in a 2019 review. "A wonderful experience to play a course with several excellent holes and obvious signature holes that make the difference." Green fees: £175
Real Club Valderrama (1997)
Arguably the most reputable course in Continental Europe, Valderrama, in Spain's Costa Del Sol region, features an iconic Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design winding through cork trees and up and down hillsides in view of the Mediterranean Sea. Captain Seve Ballesteros energized his team to a thrilling victory in what was Tiger Woods' Ryder Cup debut (1-3-1). This members club offers some windows of public access. Green fees: €400
Old Course at Walton Heath (1981)
One of the standout, historic heathlands in Surrey outside of London was, perhaps surprisingly, site of the most lopsided U.S. victory in the match's history (18.5 to 9.5). It actually was never supposed to host the matches, but it was pegged as a replacement venue after The Belfry wasn't completed in time for the 1981 Ryder Cup. Green fees are considerably lower for guests if you play midweek. Green fees £225-£375
Royal Lytham & St. Annes (1961)
The last time the Ryder Cup was held on a true links course, the Americans won handily. It was the Cup debut for Arnold Palmer, who went 3-0-1. Royal Lytham & St. Annes remains on The Open rota. Combined with Southport & Ainsdale, the Northwest links near Liverpool provides the rare chance to experience two Ryder Cup venues in the same destination. Green fees: £230-285
Lindrick Golf Club (1957)
If you're looking for the least expensive Ryder Cup tee time, this is it. Lindrick Golf Club, about 75 minutes east of Manchester, hosted the 1957 event, when GB&I won for the first time since 1933. The course, founded in 1891 and whose first nine holes were originally laid out by Old Tom Morris, was at one point described by Alister Mackenzie as the U.K.'s best inland course. Bigger events have gone elsewhere in the years since (it tips out at just 6,665 yards) but it has also hosted a Curtis Cup and Women's British Open. Green fees: £75-95
Ganton Golf Club (1949)
If you're looking for a club with serious match play pedigree, look no further than England's Ganton, host of not only the Ryder Cup but also the Curtis Cup and Walker Cup. It has stellar history as the home club of Harry Vardon, who played in high-profile matches here against J.H. Taylor in 1899. Its 19th century rugged, heathland design has been updated over the years by H.S Colt and Alister Mackenzie among others. Green fees: £130-150
Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club (1933, 1937)
Legendary golf venues including Royal Birkdale are up and down Southport's "Links along the line" and Southport & Ainsdale has a tremendous history of its own and is worth including in a longer Northwest England itinerary. The 1993 event brought Captain Walter Hagen to the club and day one brought an estimated 7,000 fans. In 1937, the U.S. team, led by non-playing captain Hagen, was the first overseas team to win the cup. Due to World War II, the Ryder Cup wouldn't be held again until 1947. Green fees: £165-180
Moortown Golf Club (1929)
How about a match on an Alister Mackenzie design? Moortown Golf Club, near Leeds, is one of the doctor's fine heathland courses in the U.K. His "Gibraltar" par-3 10th hole is legendary. Reports are that the match garnered the largest crowd ever for a golf tournament in Britain with over 15,000. The home crowd went home happy with a 7-5 win over the Americans. Green fees: £115-130