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Moortown

This club is famous for… hosting Britain’s first Ryder Cup

Moortown was the first course to hold the Ryder Cup on this side of the pond...
 

You might be forgiven for wanting to escape the Ryder Cup, after Europe’s six-year grip on the trophy came to an end at Hazeltine on Sunday night.

But you can relive the glory years at one Yorkshire club, and what a legend it is too. For it was Moortown, in Leeds, that hosted the first Ryder Cup to be held on this side of the pond in 1929.

It’s a legacy of which the course is hugely proud.

From the replica of the famous trophy, first donated by Samuel Ryder in 1927, which greets you as you walk through the entrance doors to the original Union Jack flag that adorned the presentation table when the tournament came to town, you feel like you are walking through history.

Moortown

Photographs of a bygone era line the walls and you can go out and try to recreate the shots played by the British and American heroes.

Of course, the 1929 Ryder Cup saw nothing of the scenes witnessed in Minnesota but a crowd of 10,000 – incredible for the era – turned up to watch the matches in April.

Back then, they were over two days and Scotland’s George Duncan was the captain charged with trying to reverse the 9.5-2.5 defeat Great Britain had incurred in the inaugural clash at Worcester two years earlier.

Stamina was required. Until 1959, all matches were played to a maximum of 36 holes with 4 foursomes matches on the first day and 8 singles games on the second. You needed 6.5 points to get it done.

Walter Hagen captained the US team and he, along with Duncan, would soon after be made honorary members of Moortown.

The Americans were heavy favourites to win after a 2.5-1.5 success in the Friday foursomes and legend has it that Hagen engineered the singles draw so he would go up against his British compatriot Duncan.

Moortown

His hubris – ‘There’s one point for us, lads’ – soon backfired when the Scot destroyed him 10&8.

It was the first of a series of heavy wins for the Brits as Charles Whitcombe (8&6 over Johnny Farrell), Archie Compston (6&4 over Gene Sarazen), Aubrey Boomer (4&3 against Joe Turnesa) and Cotton (4&3 over Al Watrous) heralded a 7-5 victory.

To put in context what was achieved at Moortown, when Duncan was handed the trophy from Ryder himself, he was the first of only three British captains who would ever lift the cup.

Click here for the full ‘This Club Is Famous For’ archive

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.

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