fbpx
Ryder Cup

How the Ryder Cup still impacts at Ganton seven decades on

It’s 70 years since Samuel Ryder’s famous little trophy came to North Yorkshire. Steve Carroll discovers how events of that week still impacts the club today
 

Grand clubs always have a great entrance – and few are more impressive than the road that winds towards the clubhouse at Ganton.

Tall pines flank the way and, as the copses clear, you get subtle glimpses of the famous course to whet the appetite.

Just recently, though, as the eyes flick right past the idiosyncratic but fabulous 17th, the more observant might have noticed something different.

Ganton’s springy firm turf has always presented plenty of colour, especially in summer, but now a huge area of sand dominates the area between the penultimate and closing holes.

If this doesn’t fit with your expectations, then don’t be alarmed. Things are now as they once were.

Seventy years ago this weekend, Ganton enjoyed what might have been its finest hour.

The course has staged huge tournaments – the Curtis Cup was here in 2000 and the Walker Cup three years later.

But, in 1949, the Ryder Cup came to this little hamlet seven or eight miles outside of Scarborough.

The layout that the might of the USA and Great Britain played over two action packed days has changed only a little in the ensuing seven decades.

Ryder Cup

But the club has initiated a project that would make the layout more recognisable to Ben Hogan and company.

“We’re looking back to times like 1949 and how the course was set up and replicating some of those sand and waste areas that were on exhibit then,” said managing secretary Gary Pearce.

“Work on 17 and 18 has been completed, and we have received great feedback, we cleared an area out and created a huge sand area called the Pandy.

“As you come down the drive now you look to the right and you see a natural sandy wasteland. It’s quite impressive, and possibly a little daunting.

“We don’t need to make any huge changes to the golf course at all, but there are some pockets where, over the years, gorse has taken over and we have the opportunity to open some areas up to provide a different aspect that members haven’t seen for a long time.

“But it’s not about making the course harder. If anything, we are improving playability and making the course more interesting.”

Time may have passed but the Ryder Cup remains a massive part of the club’s heritage.

Pictures of the week, when GB&I came so close but ultimately perished 7-5, line the locker room and the clubhouse.

“When people come to the club they love reading about the history on the walls and looking in the cabinets,” added Pearce.

The club have already marked the anniversary with a day of competition before recreating the 1949 dinner enjoyed by the two teams during the tournament.

Attendees also enjoyed a specially brewed ale ‘The Ganton Shilling’ – sold at 1949 prices (5p a pint) – and played for a replica Ryder Cup trophy, which will now be competed for on suitable anniversaries.

Ryder cup

Former European Tour, and six-time Ryder Cup player Howard Clark attended the dinner, and fielded questions from the members, before presenting the Ryder Cup to Ganton professional, Gary Brown, who followed in Hogan’s footsteps by receiving the Cup as a winning USA team captain.

It’s about ensuring the memories endure and celebrating a period when one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions routinely visited members’ clubs.

Added Pearce: “To be associated with Ryder, Walker and Curtis is part of our heritage and a pattern of hosting significant competitions so we remain in the forefront of golfer’s minds.

“The Ryder Cup is very seldom now played at a traditional private members’ club and it’s commercialism means they will probably never be considered again.

“Most golfers have only watched the Ryder Cup at large resorts like Celtic Manor or The Belfry; to visit Ganton and see the start of the build up of the Ryder Cup in a more traditional setting is quite special.”

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

England Golf Awards

News

Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards

By

Read full article about Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards
How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

Features

How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

By

Read full article about How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?
Why your clubs have joining fees - and could they be improved?

Features

Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?

By

Read full article about Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?
penalty area in golf

I think I’m in a penalty area but it’s not marked – can I get free relief?

By

Read full article about I think I’m in a penalty area but it’s not marked – can I get free relief?
committee for golf club salaries

Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!

By

Read full article about Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!
visitor golf green fees

News

How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?

By

Read full article about How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?
ground under repair

Are tractor ruts considered ground under repair?

By

Read full article about Are tractor ruts considered ground under repair?
Preferred lies

Can I switch my ball when taking preferred lies relief?

By

Read full article about Can I switch my ball when taking preferred lies relief?
lost golf ball

Help! I’ve run out of balls – what now?

By

Read full article about Help! I’ve run out of balls – what now?