The new-look The Belfry – the iconic West Midlands venue is in the final throes of a comprehensive £26m refurbishment – has its sights firmly fixed on a return to the golfing big-time. And that includes hosting a fifth Ryder Cup!
The new Belfry bosses believe that the world-famous venue and four-times Ryder Cup host has been in the golfing wilderness too long and that the time is now right to thrust itself into the limelight again, specially after the recent major, mega-expensive off-course overhaul.
A EuroPro Tour event is being staged at The Belfry next month (April) and this could well be the forerunner to bigger and better things with Director of Golf Ian Knox saying: “We should be looking for tournament golf, we should be looking to put The Belfry back on the map. With our history and location this is definitely something we’re looking at in the next couple of years.
“I would imagine bidding for the 2022 Ryder Cup will start at the end of the next year and a lot of things will have to slip into place but we could be in contention for 2022 or 2026. We’ve had it four times, why not a fifth?”
The new Belfry, claims Knox, has it all and after being given a sneak preview of the changes it is hard to disagree. “With the logistics, the location, the quality of the golf course and now the quality of the resort, things have changed for the better and people should start looking at having Grand Finals and corporate days – and Tour events – at The Belfry now.”
The refurb has been overseen by Managing Director Lynn Hood who admits “it’s been an amazing journey,” adding: “What we hope to do is bring the resort up to the same standard as the fantastic golf experience. That’s the mission.
“We’re looking to broaden the appeal of The Belfry which is known for its golfing heritage but less known as a destination resort. We’re taking it stage by stage to build the reputation back before looking at the international market. Then our aim is to look at tournament golf and we’ve got the assets to do that.”
The changes literally hit you early doors with a unique golf clubs chandelier, featuring a mix of 3 and 6-irons, wedges and putters, adorning the striking new main entrance. All 319 rooms have been refurbished and golfers and guests will love the new Brabazon Bar – located in the heart of the hotel, the former courtyard garden – and The Ryder Grill restaurant. Sam’s Clubhouse offers a more casual dining experience.
Golfers will benefit from smarter, more spacious locker rooms and will no doubt be fascinated by the planned Ryder Cup collection and heritage selection featuring all kinds of RC artefacts and memorabilia.
The refurb started last April and should be completed virtually a year later – perfect timing for the start of the new season. “Phenomenal changes and turnaround in a year,” Knox stresses. “Now we just want to show it off and be proud of what’s here, appealing to the local, UK and continental markets including America and the Far East.” From Solihull to Shanghai.