Everything You Might Not Know About Wentworth and the BMW PGA Championship

02 September 2022
4 min. read
Darren Redwood
With the BMW PGA Championship coming from the Wentworth Club, Surrey in September (08 - 11 September to be precise), this article includes some things you might not know about the famous club and estate.
(Photo: Golfsupport.nl via Leading Courses)

BMW PGA Championship

The BMW PGA Championship is the flagship event on the DP World Tour (previously known as the European Tour). It was founded in 1955 as the British PGA Championship and used to be rotated around courses before finding a permanent home at Wentworth Club on the West Course in 1984.

In 2005, the tournament fell under the ‘BMW’ umbrella and has since gone from strength to strength with the winner of each event given exemption in the U.S. Open and the next three Open Championships.

Until 2019, the BMW PGA Championship was always played in May but now it is played in September due to a revamp in the golfing calendar which saw the US PGA Championship move to May.

Previous Winners

Nick Faldo is the most successful golfer in this championship with four wins to his name. Colin Montgomery is the only golfer to win it three years in a row. Peter Alliss and Bernhard Langer are the only other golfers to win the event three times, whilst Tony Jacklin, Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Anders Hansen and Luke Donald have all won it twice. 

Other notable winners include:

  • Paul Casey (2009)
  • Rory McIlroy (2014)
  • Francesco Molinari (2018)
  • Danny Willett (2019)
  • Tyrell Hatton (2020)
  • Billy Horschel (2021)
Amazing green complexes at Wentworth (photo: user JulienTizot)

The History of the West Course

Wentworth boasts three outstanding courses designed by the world's finest architects. The East and West Course were designed by Harry Colt in the 1920s. More recently, Gary Player, Bernard Gallacher and John Jacobs designed the Edinburgh Course which was opened by The Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in 1990.

The West Course is the most famous of the three courses and was once hosting three professional tournaments every year - World Matchplay, PGA Championship and Senior Masters. In 1953, the Ryder Cup was also played on the West Course resulting in a 6 ½ to 5 ½ American victory.

Fast forward over 50 years, the West Course closed in 2009 for 12 months following an extensive renovation programme worth £6.5m. Ernie Els, who lives on the Wentworth Estate (just off of the 16th fairway), and his design team were at the heart of the programme.All 18 greens were completely rebuilt to USGA specifications with drainage systems installed to ensure the greens performed to a world-class standard. The surrounds of the greens were also remodelled to give more shape and all bunkers were reconstructed, repositioned and made significantly deeper.

In 2016, the West Course closed again to redesign 5 greens, install sub-air systems and reduce a number of bunkers. The Course re-opened in 2017 just before the BMW PGA Championship.

Now stretching over 7300 yards off of the Championship tees, the heathland course has a slope rating of 153 making it one of the toughest courses in the UK.

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Wentworth Golf Club
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Wentworth Estate

Wentworth Estate covers an area of about 1,750 acres located in Surrey, near to Windsor Great Park. Known as one of Europe’s premier residential areas where golfers, Thomas Bjorn & Ernie Els live, as well as other sport stars Prince Naseem Hamed (Boxing), Kevin Pietersen (Cricket) and Eddie Jordan (Formula 1).

The three championship golf courses as well as the par 3 nine-hole course sit within the estate along with public and private roads, footpaths and open areas.

Wentworth is one of Europe’s premier residential areas (photo user calummackenzie9)

5 things you might not know about Wentworth

  1. Wentworth is now only open to its members and their guests - with the exception of corporate events and the BMW PGA Championship.
  2. All ‘employed’ caddies must wear boiler suits (similar to Augusta National) when out on the course.
  3. Also located within the golf club grounds are a tennis & health club, a spa and seven bar or dining areas.
  4. DP World Tour Head Office is located next to the famous Wentworth clubhouse
  5. In 2016, the number of members went from 4.000 to just a few hundred following a purchase by a Chinese firm, Reignwood Consulting Ltd as they introduced an estimated £100k debenture and £10k annual fees.
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