Gleneagles (PGA Centenary) - Perth & Kinross - Scotland

Gleneagles Hotel,
Auchterarder,
Perthshire,
PH3 1NF,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1764 662231

  • Heather Edment

  • Jack Nicklaus

  • Andrew Jowett


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Gleneagles played host to the 2014 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Tom Watson (US) and Paul McGinley (Europe). After a 41-year gap, the Ryder Cup returned to the “Home of Golf” and the heartland of Scotland. In the end, the event was a rather one-sided affair where the rookies on both teams played a significant role. Jordan Speith and Patrick Reid gave the USA hope after the Friday morning fourballs, thrashing Ian Poulter and rookie Stephen Gallacher 5&4. But after the Friday afternoon foursomes the momentum had swung in Europe’s favour. The pattern continued on Saturday with the USA narrowly winning the fourballs but again losing heavily in the afternoon foursomes. With a 10-6 lead going into Sunday's singles it was rather a formality for Europe. Poignantly, the winning shot fell to another rookie, this time Europe’s Jamie Donaldson, who hit a magnificent approach to beat Keegan Bradley 4&3 giving Europe the crucial 14½ points. Europe 16 ½ - USA 11 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at Medinah in 2012 and will be played at Hazeltine National in 2016.

Few places in the British Isles can boast three courses, let alone three Top 100 courses, but then, there's only one Gleneagles. James Braid was the master architect behind the King's and Queen's but the PGA Centenary is the course that Jack Nicklaus built, so it goes without saying that this is an American-styled layout.

The PGA Centenary (formerly known as the Monarch) opened for play in 1993 and it's a big stadium course. In fact, it's the longest inland course in Scotland, measuring a nearly 7,300 yards from the back tees. There are five tee boxes to choose from, so select carefully to ensure maximum enjoyment. We're not buggy lovers, but there are some long walks between the greens and tees. If the PGA Centenary is your second round of the day at Gleneagles, a buggy comes highly recommended.

“The finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with,” was how Jack Nicklaus described the rolling moorland. This is Nicklaus's first and only design project in Scotland and he's done a fine understated job. Only a couple of holes feature water hazards, and these are for practical, irrigation reasons rather than for effect. The PGA Centenary definitely complements, but also contrasts markedly with the King's and Queen's. The usual Nicklaus features are in place – huge undulating greens, bold bunkering and, of course, a number of risk and reward holes.

The key to scoring well on the PGA Centenary is to avoid coming up short with your approach shots. Invariably, much of the trouble is at the front of the greens, so take enough club. Our favourite holes are those adjacent to the King's course and the 5th is a cracker. The long par four is called "Crookit Cratur" and it's a fun rollercoaster of a hole with a bottle-necked entrance to the green. The 9th is also superb – a par five which has trouble in the shape of water and bunkers (one of which is huge) lurking down the right.

In consultation with Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary course closed for renovation in October 2011 and reopened at the end of April 2012. Click here for full details.

We wonder what Bernard Darwin might have thought of the PGA Centenary course. We do know that he loved the King's and the Queen's. We suspect he might have said something along these lines: “The PGA Centenary course was intended to test the rampaging animal to the full. Jack Nicklaus has unquestionably made of the PGA Centenary a 'big' course on which it was enthralling to see the big men, from both sides of the Atlantic, stretch themselves during the 2014 Ryder Cup.”

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Reviews for Gleneagles (PGA Centenary)

Av. Reviewers Score:

Played in a open day and the range and facilities of the changing room and staff are first class. Now onto the golf, bit disappointing the started wasn't there to welcome us firstly but we teed off and the course starts off with a gentle par 4 then a birdie-able par 5 second. Lovely views all round of Scottish countryside but the course is a bit bland and you can see if was built to host events as doesn't have the Scottish charm like the other two gleneagles courses, its a very generic Americanized course. The fairways were a bit bare in September which is quite bad and the greens very bumpy but alright. The course itself is nice dont get me wrong and a few nice holes like the 5th and 6th which take you more through the countryside near the kings course but too many bland holes and I would say i prefer playing cardrona or dalmahoy which are far far cheaper and nicer in my opinion. I would not play here again but the kings and queens courses are beautiful ( althou also not always in pristine condition for the price ) but very good courses with varying holes and the Scottish charm. So to sum up i would say overpriced, avoid and play the other two :)

September 22, 2016


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It was long ago, I forgot to post it but my good memory and a quick review to the pictures have taken me back to May 29th 2012 when I was lucky to play this venue. Many golfers think it is special to play a Tour Venue (Ryder Cup 2014 and Johnny Walker Championship in this case), so on Tuesday after one round at Ailsa and another at Royal Troon Old we prepared something special for 22 of the 36 golfers who were taking part of the trip and on our way to St Andrew’s we took a small detour to experience the future venue of the Ryder Cup which had just been restored by designer Jack Nicklaus and droveto The Gleneagles Resort to play something great. The round was not part of the Tournament we were hosting, Gleneagles (PGA Centenary) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerit was just a fun round where players wanted to keep in their memories what 2 years later they were going to see on TV. We played the course just 3 weeks after it was re-opened with the changes done to 9th (in my opinion this hole improved a lot making it a 3 shot par 5 for almost everybody) and 18th for The Ryder Cup. The Course runs along a very similar piece of land as its sisters Kings and Queens, but it is totally different, with all the features of modern design applied by Course Designer Jack Nicklaus playing very similar in design and landscape to Chapelco Golf Course in Argentina but I’m afraid the course in my country has a much better geographical surrounding. If I am asked if I liked it more than the other two which I played the previous year, I will say no. It is really good, but the older ones are nicer and more natural. Locals usually don’t give their best reviews to this course, “Oh yes this new American stuff, King’s is far better” I heard from one of the local caddies. The Course itself is great, fun to play, challenging with very fast greens (faster than normal links golf of course) and mainly the back 9 have a sort of Stadium design what makes it very easy to host big events. Par 4s 12-15 go in and out twice so with little walks you can be near every match. In my opinion front 9 are better, with more variety in design, level changes look more natural and both par 3s are just great while 10 and 17 have nothing special. Par 5s are all four of them great, specially 9 and 16 (remember Kaymer´s chip in for eagle?) but 18th is just standard, a weak finishing hole although the green is very tricky. All in one the experience is worth, but there are at least 15 courses in Scotland I would play before PGA Centenary.
March 13, 2016


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Dan Hare
July 31, 2016

A fair review. I was in the area again recently and was having a pint with some locals in Auchterarder, a nice place for a night out. As one said "I can't understand them holding the Ryder Cup on the fourth best course in Auchterarder". That doesn't include the G West by the way, which is apparently being brought back to life. Still, it's an exclusive members only facility like Loch Lomond, Skibo and the Renaissance. Pfft.

Three of us were lucky enough to play the PGA Centenary course a few weeks before the Ryder Cup. There was an exciting atmosphere and keen sense of anticipation around the whole place and playing any course with most of the stands up always adds to the experience. The PGA has always split opinion and while it may not have the same charm or beauty as the Kings or Queens it is a solid course in its own right with a handful of extremely good holes. Holding an event such as the Ryder Cup requires a stadium course with plenty of room and mounding between fairways in order for almost 50,000 people to be able to see the action and to create an atmosphere worthy of the event. From what I saw last weekend the golf course came across in a positive light to the watching world and more than stood up to the test. After a good but unspectacular start, things come to life on the 5th hole, a great par four and almost certainly the toughest hole of the lot. Trees narrow the fairway considerably from the left and a marsh positioned short and right of the green puts plenty of pressureGleneagles (PGA Centenary) - Photo by reviewer on the long approach shot. The run of holes from here to the 9th are very good indeed. The attractive downhill 6th is my favourite par three and the uphill 7th to a plateau green is another strong par four. The par four 8th requires some thought as bunkers must be avoided but a good drive close to the dogleg leaves an inviting downhill short iron and offers a genuine birdie opportunity. The 9th is reachable in two for the big boys but the long green means that a three putt is more likely than an eagle. Care with your approach on the short par four 11th is necessary as anything landing on the front edge of the green can easily run back down the steep slope into the burn. I found the run of holes from 12 to 14 perhaps the least interesting but to be fair the risk and reward set up of 14 made for compulsive viewing throughout the Ryder Cup. Starting the excellent finishing stretch is the 15th, running alongside Auchterader GC, another strong par four where you simply can’t go left and the long thin green is not easy to hit…unless your name is Jamie Donaldson of course. Memorable is an apt description of the 16th, a cracking match play hole. Reachable in two for the longest and bravest, as most par fives seem to be these days, the undulating green makes a two putt no certainty. Another par five, the 18th always used to receive plenty of criticism but is now a very good finishing hole. The green shape and well designed run-off areas make this in my eyes the best green complex on the course. Playing here before the event certainly added to our enjoyment whilst viewing and I think it’s fairly safe to predict that over the next few years there will be plenty queuing, credit card in hand, to get a taste of the Ryder Cup experience. Gleneagles can certainly be classed as a top golf destination with three courses that have contrasting characteristics and offer distinctly different challenges but if I was to return anytime soon I would probably head for the Kings course. Brian W
October 03, 2014


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I have played this course many many times and regular player here. It is very hard for a parkland type course to stay in top condition all year unlike links courses that are easier kept. Now from months of april to november this course is is really good condition tees are beautifully kept and greens are true, different paces and faster in summer months. The layout is top notch with a mix of good holes. fairways are wide ish but many challenging drives too like the 5th which is a really tight drive. i prefer the back nine thou for reasons just i like the views better and more deep and wildlife around which is a great thing about gleneagles. cost is a bit steep and i believe there are better value for money courses but this is a great course and also the clubhouse and aura of gleneagles is there.
July 31, 2014


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Played this course quite a few times always enjoy playing it to a certain extent after seeing some pro's playing at it and see how you can do on the course. And by the way i have played the course i cant see why the Pro's dont shoot much lower than they do greens seem to be always soft so pefect pin seeking chances for pro's. The lay out of the course is good, holes all provide a good challenge but the walk from tee to tee is ridiculously long you spend most of your time walking, it is a course that you have to use buggies unless you cant. As for this course being venue for the Ryder Cup in 2014 it may be good for viewing as its a good layout to watch golf but wont be as enjoyable for the players i thnk, they will need to sort out the drainage on fairways badly so it wont be wash out for the time of year it gets played. It is still a good course in its own rights but i would rather play the other two courses first for the money they are asking for the PGA but worth playing it once to get that experience ;).
November 19, 2011


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Shocking! I don’t normally believe in writing negative reviews of anything but in this instance I feel it is necessary. The PGA Centenary course is set in stunning scenery with many visually appealing holes but woefully let down by its condition (in early September 2011). I learnt the game on a course which resembled a bog in winter so am used to muddy conditions. I also paid low green fees in line with the poor conditioning. All golfers have the right to expect better conditions in return for Gleneagles’ level of green fees.Gleneagles (PGA Centenary) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer Casual water squelched up from my feet on every fairway. On the 4th green I managed to plug a 3 iron shot in its own pitch mark. The fifth fairway moved under foot like stepping on a blancmange as if damaged by frost. Many tees were hollow tined which I understand is necessary work (but this was not advised at time of booking or before starting play) but combined with soft conditions made teeing off more perilous than necessary. Due to tour schedules the upcoming 2014 Ryder cup cannot be held during the dry of high summer so I fear course conditions could be worse than 2010. I suspect both captains will load their teams with bombers and gougers in order to compete on this ‘everything-through-the-air’ course. The 17th and 18th are unlikely to provide dramatic finishes although the 16th may compensate to some degree. It seems to me that the course looked great on paper during the design stage but with little consideration to drainage and Scotland’s weather. Perhaps the other courses at the resort started life this way too.
September 14, 2011


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I returned to the PGA six years after posting the first review for the course on this site as I was keen to see if any of the changes in recent years by David McLay Kidd might endear the place to me a little bit more this time around – after all, I absolutely love the oversized layouts of Spey Valley and the Duke’s in St Andrews so why should I not be able to take to the PGA the same way? Gleneagles PGA Centenary course - photo by Jim McCannThe opening half dozen holes are excellent, especially the par five 2nd and two par threes at 3 and 6. I wasn’t enamoured by the large mounding and bunkers to the left of the fairway on the 8th and the enormous lateral sand trap on the following hole still jars my golfing sensibilities. Holes 10 and 11 are solid but then the stretch between 12 and 15 are easily the weakest on the card as they occupy the most elevated and least interesting portion of the property. Granted, the round picks up again at the tough par five 16th but the long uphill march to the 18th green really is an unavoidable trek back to the home hole. So for me, a mixed bag of very good and not so good, even though the Gleneagles stamp of quality is evident on every tee, fairway and putting surface. I’ve heard the 18 holes here described as “the 4th best course in Auchterarder,” which really is unkind. I’ve also read uncomplimentary quotes from a couple of prominent professionals who are not big fans of the PGA course. Never mind, the Gleneagles brand is big enough to absorb such barbs and, anyway, all those comments will be long forgotten in three years’ time when fans roll up in their tens of thousands to spectate at the 41st series of Ryder Cup matches… c’mon Europe!!! Jim McCann
September 13, 2011


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I am surprised to see this course rated at 42. I have played on about 150 courses in Scotland and I would not rate it in the top 100. On a top course you would expect to remember most of the holes after playing the course and I cerainly remembered quite a few but all for the wrong reasons. It gives the immpression of having been stuck in the only available piece of land so a third course could be created. To get a true perspective given the choice would anyone prefer to play this course rather than the King's or Queen's? It is just a long slog and a very long walk!
October 12, 2010


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Having played the King's several times I had always pretty much avoided Centenary as I had heard stories of the hard slog it could be and never really fancied it. By chance though I played it twice in the last 6 weeks. My first visit was fairly horrific. We played it on the Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May. I was staying at Glenmor and a friend joined me for a round. He paid £75 for the round and we shared a buggy for, I think, £40. At the time of booking there was no mention of the horror of what to come. The greens were to all intents and purposes unplayable. Two months of snow and frost at the beginning of the year had left them holed and pitted. In all my years of playing, growing up on council courses in Edinburgh, I had never seen anything like it. There was no way it was possible to move the ball to avoid the holes - they were everywhere. What was so galling was that no-one at Gleneagles had mentioned this to us. It epitomises so much of this place these days - they are out for the money and don't really care about your experience. The fairways were all cut to aid drainage I guess and again there was no mention of this.

As for the course itself, it wasn't as bad as I had expected! While nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as the King's or Queen's it is quite a plesant track with a handful of memorable holes but also some pretty weak holes - surely they are going to have to do something to 18 before the Ryder Cup as it is hard to imagine the hole generating much in the way of drama. The back 9 is probably the more interesting stretch with some short par 4s which require more than brute force and the par 5 16th is a very pleasant hole with a real risk or reward across water. There have been changes on the course over recent years - notably the 12th becoming a long par 4 (3rd longest on the course from the yellows) rather than a shortish par 5. However, and excuse me but this really annoys me, they have not changed the stroke index of the hole. It plays as stroke index 14. That is just laziness for a course which has prentences to be world class.

I was invited back a month later and for sure the greens had come on a lot and they may be just about playable for when the tour comes in August. I walked the course on the second visit and while some of the 400 yard plus walks between green and tee were annoying it was just about doable so don't feel you absolutely need to take a cart if you have a basic level of fitness.

To have the Ryder Cup in Scotland in 2014 is a great event for all of us fans who live here. The course will no doubt accomodate spectators very well and hopefully it will be in acceptable condition by then. However, to look over so many great courses in the country and to follow the money to Gleneagles is a real shame. The course is just about acceptable as a Challenge Tour venue and we will be portraying it as the Pride of Scotland and that just isn't right.
June 03, 2010


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Played this on saturday 18th April - and have to say that i kind of slightly disagree with some of the strength of the comments below. Whilst I agree it does feel slightly manufactured - it is mainly due I think to the lack of age. In a few years this will feel much more natural. I played it off the tips and it was more of a test than the King's course in my mind in that the King's was easier to score on. The condition of the course was poor though as the fairways were all a mess and the greens shocking. I can however imagine the course in full glory with banks of ryder cup spectators. I may be slightly rose tinted in my assessment as the stay was a freebie and I would have been slightly harsher if I paid full green fee which is not good value right now - which even the starter affirmed. To my mind though was the holes i birdied which will be re-told in 2014 when I watch the ryder cup. It's good but not great....
April 20, 2010


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