Great holes in Golf: 10th, The Belfry (Brabazon)

Courses & Travel

Architect Tom Mackenzie on this teasing 311-yard par 4

There are so many Ryder Cup memories from The Belfry and many of them centre on the tantalising 10th hole. It is hard to find the right balance when creating short par 4s like this.

Slightly too tough and no-one takes the gamble. Too easy and there is no choice to be made. It is just right here though.

The cautious play down the left leaving a twitchy pitch across the water to a narrow and sloping green – no guaranteed birdies on this route. The bold or the foolhardy are tempted to have a go at the 250-yard carry with water lurking short and all along the left and a wooded bank and a line of bunkers to the right.

It is a narrow margin for error but eagles are there for the taking but bogeys or even worse can result. What else can a short par 4 do?

The Belfry

The Ryder Cup suited the hole perfectly, especially in the fourball matches or when players wanted to make things happen.

Who can forget the roars that followed Seve and Sam Torrance drilling their power fades and taking on the heroic carry from the tee in the ’85 matches. 

There was great criticism of Torrance in the 2002 round of matches for stretching the hole to its limit at 311 yards, and rightly so. The move nullified the excitement, with Sergio Garcia the only man brave enough to attempt the enormous carry, only to see his ball fall agonisingly short.

A hole such as this one must be set up in a way that takes advantage of its attributes – a miniscule target at the end of a tempting short 4 where the rewards and penalties are poles apart.

Pros are always more cautious in strokeplay events so the hole came to life in the Ryder Cup, just as its designer Dave Thomas intended.

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