By Steve Hayes 14/06 Updated: 15/06 09:06
THERE is something innately majestic about The Belfry.
Whether you're stepping onto the first tee of the venue's famous course - The Brabazon, walking the historic memorabilia-draped corridors knowing Ryder Cup legends have trodden them before you, or simply walking into the hotel's impressive main entrance - this place is special.
It is a decade since The Belfry, near Sutton Coldfield, hosted the Ryder Cup, yet for many it remains the spiritual home of golf's greatest competition - having hosted it a total of four times and borne witness to some truly magical moments in the sport's history.
Torrance's dramatic putt on the last in 1985, Seve driving the green of the magnificent par 4 10th in the same year, Paul McGinley jumping for joy after holing the winning putt in 2002 - the list goes on.
But there is a major difference between The Belfry and many other big tournament hosting clubs - pretty much anyone can tread the same fairways and greens these players did at a relatively affordable price.
In summer months the green fees for the Brabazon course are £160, with the club's two other courses - the PGA National and The Derby - £80 and £45 respectively.
But the real value for money comes from the many package deals The Belfry offers, which include a selection of rounds, dinner, and a stay at the venue's impressive hotel.
A current special offer includes a round on the Brabazon, dinner and an overnight stay, followed by breakfast and a round on The Derby - all for £180 per person. You'd struggle to find a golfing holiday at some unremarkable courses for that, let alone here.
The Brabazon may be the more expensive of the venue's three courses, but it isn't hard to understand why, and as Director of Golf Gary Silcock explains, it still offers the best value for money.
Six people are employed just to fill in divots on the course - a good insight into the level of attention to detail applied.
The greens are some of the truest you are ever likely to play, the fairways are like carpet, the rough is short yet somehow fiendishly difficult to escape, there are bunkers and water at every turn - but good play is rewarded handsomely, especially on some of the shorter holes.
It is almost impossible to pick an outstanding hole - there are a handful - but the iconic 10th is perhaps the best example of the fabulous risk and reward element to the game the course offers up.
Playing at The Belfry is a golfing experience more than it is just a round of golf.
So as you stand looking into the wind, back up to the clubhouse towards the monstrous 18th green, not only do you wonder if there is a club in your bag which will get you over the water, you can't help for a moment imagining you are playing the hole to win the Ryder Cup - such is the magic of this place.
But The Belfry isn't all about The Brabazon - in fact aside from the golf courses the venue boasts one of the most impressive golf centres in Europe. With a state-of-the-art custom fitting service and just about every club you can think of available - the PGA National Golf Academy situated on the site is the perfect place to go if you are in the market for some new golfing gear. And with 20 PGA professionals on site it wouldn't be a bad place to come for a lesson either.
The venue's hotel is equally impressive and anyone staying has access to the Health and Wellness centre to recover after a round.
And situated in Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield, just of the M42 The Belfry is perfectly located for easy access.
Visit www.thebelfry.co.uk for more information.
SEVEN local groups will come together to celebrate
CLASSICAL music can be enjoyed at four concerts
Julius Caesar RST Stratford IT can, and has
COMEDIES from the Bard and Coward and a
FESTIVE comedy is set to hit the Vale this Christmas ...
CHRISTMAS magic at the RSC this year is supplied by ...