During our normal work week we often come across peculiar golf courses and sometimes this happens a few times in a row. When that happens, we wonder if it would make a nice blog post. This time, we are zooming in on golf courses which are built within a race track… Yes, it really happens quite a lot so if you are into horses and golf, this is the best of both worlds!
Why did they do it?
The first thing that pops in your head is the question: Why? Why did they build a golf course in the middle of a (horse) race track? It does not seem to be the best place to build a golf course as you are confined to a very specific area which is almost always flat as can be as spectators must be able to see the other side of the race track. Perhaps in the old days they did not have a lot of money and a race track already had quite some facilities, like grandstands, bars, restaurants and car parks. And a nine-hole layout neatly fits into the centre of a racing circuit. So probably that might be one of reasons and because people that like watching horses might also love the game of golf…
Where to go?
Well, the safest bet to go is the UK or Germany when it comes to golf courses still located within a racetrack. Most of other courses have closed down or were relocated. One of the best known golf courses that had to relocate is ‘Ascot Heath’ of the Royal Ascot Golf Club which was built inside the Royal Ascot race track. The course was relocated in 2005 to make-way for a multi-million pound re-development. The course originally was designed in 1887 by J.H. Taylor.
Before showing the list of course, we will zoom into two famous courses built within a racetrack, Musselburgh Links and Brickyard Crossing.
Musselburgh Links – the world’s oldest golf course
The oldest and probably one of the most well-known golf courses within a race track is The Old Golf Course at Musselburgh Links. The earliest documentation of golf being played on Musselburgh Links is from 1672, which has earned Musselburgh Links the Guinness World Record for being the oldest golf course in the world. However, it has been reputed that Mary, Queen of Scots played on Musselburgh even earlier in 1567.
Musselburgh Links was originally seven holes, with another added in 1838 and the full nine-holes coming into play in 1870. The first three holes stretched eastwards from the grandstand at the racecourse, the site of the former clubhouse of the Honourable Company. To the right is the main traffic route through Musselburgh, onto which the Musselburgh golfers used to slice their shots, then played back to the links using brass-soled clubs. The metal plate on the ‘brassie’ wooden club was invented in Musselburgh in 1885 to deal with such shots. Playing Musselbergh Links only costs £14.70 during weekdays and £15.70 during the weekend. When there is a race fixture at Musselburgh Racecourse, only a limited number of tee times are available. Race fixture dates can be found on the Musselburgh Racecourse website.
Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at Indianapolis
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known also as The Brickyard because of the 3.2 million paving bricks used to pave the track in 1909. The original Speedway Golf Course was built in 1929 and has undergone several renovations over the eighty-four years it has been on the IMS grounds. The current layout was designed in 1992-1993 by golf course designer Pete Dye and became known as the Brickyard Crossing once the renovation was completed. Originally nine holes of the Speedway Golf Course were located inside the racetrack and an additional 9 holes were located east of the Speedway.
In the late 1960s the course was remodeled to have a full championship 18 holes outside the racetrack with nine holes inside the racetrack for a total of 27 holes. When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum moved to its present location inside the Speedway, part of the golf course was lost. So a new nine-hole lesser or “Executive” course was built inside the track. The Pete Dye designed course – known as the Brickyard Crossing – now only has 4 holes inside the racetrack and fourteen holes outside the race track. The course is closed on race days. Fun fact: Winners of the Indianapolis 500 get a lifetime membership at the club!
The ‘other courses’ within a race track
It’s not that the following courses do not deserve their own section in this post, but we have to keep this blogpost readable (i.e. not too long). We hope you understand. We have listed all golf courses located in a race track in the table below. We’ve added some extra information, like the country there are located in and the year they were founded. Golf courses that have moved – due to several reasons – and have relocated their golf course have not been added to the list.
If you are missing a course, just drop us a comment beneath this post and we will add the course! We have listed the name of the course, the date it was built and there current rating on Leadingcourses.com. Have fun!
Quite a few courses have closed their doors, like the Newbury Racecourse Golf & Club (in 2016), the Navan Golf Club and Golfanlage Rennbahn Frankfurt Niederrad. Others have been relocated to an entire other location as mentioned earlier and some just closed the holes within the race track. Lingfield Park Resort is located just adjacent a race track and perhaps in earlier days they also played within the race track, but not any more.
If you have any additions to the list, just post your comment below!