If you’re debating whether or not you should go to a Ryder Cup in the future, just do it. It’s an amazing experience. I had the chance to attend the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine and also made my first trip across the pond to France in 2018. Here are a few ways the experiences differed between attending in the US vs. in Europe.
1. Language barrier is real – As an English speaker, it was certainly a challenge getting to Le Golf National in France as transportation and signs can be in French. However, the PGA did a great job close to the event providing English translations and having bilingual staff members at ticketing, security, and concessions. That isn’t to say there weren’t some challenges throughout the weekend!
2. Getting close to the action – Hazeltine was an amazing golf course. In order to get close to the action tough you typically had to find a grandstand and hope there was space when players were coming through the hole. At Le Golf National, holes 8 and 11 were perfect par 3s where you could sit right along the rope line about 30 feet from the players putting.
3. The courses are very different – Hazeltine in person was a “bombers” golf course which certainly favored Americans like Dustin Johnson. However, Le Golf National had very narrow fairways, deep rough, and often forced players to take less than driver off the tee. This setup favored the Europeans and it was evident by the final scorebaoard.
4. It’s more fun when your country is winning – Let’s be honest, a lot of the experience is affected by the performance of the players. After taking a 3-0 lead early Friday in France, the US fans were loud and plentiful. Post sweep on Friday
afternoon by the Europeans it was as if no US fans were around the course all weekend. However, Hazeltine was buzzing with energy as the Americans held off a charging European squad on Sunday!
Bonus European facts:
- If you’re going to Europe for a future Ryder Cup, just know that not speaking the native language can be a challenge. Ensuring you have cell phone data/signal to translate maps into English are essential to travel by car or public transportation
- The PGA of America and the PGA or Europe did a great job setting up free Wi-Fi throughout the course. This really helped with the experience of knowing what was happening by following the action on the Ryder Cup App.
- Italy will host the 2022 Ryder Cup and it will surely be a memorable experience for Americans who attend!