Celtic Manor Resort played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Corey Pavin (US) and Colin Montgomerie (Europe). The first Ryder Cup to be hosted in Wales was also staged on a golf course designed specifically for the event, which was unfortunately blighted by bad weather that twice resulted in the suspension of play and finally concluded on the Monday. Europe had a 3-point lead going into the singles matches, but Team USA rallied, taking the tournament to the anchor match between Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan. McDowell thought he had already faced his sternest character test after winning his first Major at the US Open Championship earlier that year, but he was wrong. "I have never felt as nervous in my life," McDowell later admitted after defeating Mahan 3 & 1 to regain the Cup for Europe. Europe 14 ½ - USA 13 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at Valhalla in 2008 and at Medinah in 2012.
The resort at Celtic Manor was conceived and developed by Sir Terence Matthews. In the late 1970s, Matthews bought a near-derelict manor house and turned it into a small hotel. The hotel became popular and successful, winning the Egon Ronay Best Hotel in Wales award five years on the trot. Matthews’s long-term vision was a golfing complex and no doubt he thought the piece de resistance was the Wentwood Hills course, which opened for play in September 1999, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr but we doubt that even in his wildest dreams could he ever have imagined that Celtic Manor would host a Ryder Cup.
A bit of Augusta, a bit of Florida and a lot of Wales, was how they referred to Wentwood Hills and they were absolutely right. There was a coalition of British and American features, which Trent Jones Jnr described as “a true championship course that combines a hilly landscape with the more traditional links-like features of an estuary. There's great variety here”. But all that was before Celtic Manor became the chosen venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup when a decision was made to create a new course for staging golf’s greatest team event.
In July 2007, the first course to be built specifically for the Ryder Cup opened its tees for play. The course, aptly called “Twenty Ten”, is the result of collaboration between the European PGA, golf course architects and tour pros; the objective was to create a unique Ryder Cup venue.
The new Twenty Ten course measures a beefy 7,493 yards with par set at 71. It features nine dramatic new holes that have been routed through the Usk Valley, as well as nine holes from the former Wentwood Hills course that have been extensively re-fashioned. The new design ensures not only that each hole is an exacting test but also that there is an amphitheatre for great spectator viewing.
The Celtic Manor Wales Open, staged on the Roman Road course until 2007. saw the event switch to the Twenty Ten course in 2008 with Scott Strange victorious. The 2009 tournament saw Denmark’s Jeppe Huldahl upstage a stellar field to land the 2009 title and its £300,000 first prize. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the 2010 event. Speaking to the BBC in June 2010, Celtic Manor owner Sir Terry Matthews cast doubt on the future of the Wales Open… click here for more. However, Saab stepped in to sponsor the Wales Open in 2011 (won by Alexander Norén) and ISPS Handa took the reins over in 2012.
With water hazards on half of its holes and no fewer than six signature holes, Twenty Ten represents a serious test and also plenty of risk-and-reward challenges. Variety is a keyword of Twenty Ten, where a number of holes on the outward nine have a links-like feel before you enter the lake-lined middle section prior to reaching the elevated closing stretch of four holes which witnessed plenty of memorable Ryder Cup drama.
Wentwood Hills was a formidable championship layout but Twenty Ten is perhaps even more frightening, especially if your game is off tune. If you are a lover of all things traditional, then Celtic Manor is probably not for you. But if you are seeking thrills and an exciting and tough challenge, then Twenty Ten will fit the bill perfectly. Celtic Manor are allowing limited public play on the Ryder Cup course, so make the most of it before they close their tees for the sole enjoyment of the new prestigious Twenty Ten Club members.
I was disappointed not to play it during the IGTM Tournament but it was finally a better call as I played it on my own, fast, in sunny and cold windy conditions and in just 2h30m I was done and could go back to work. Of course, it would have been better to play it in competition format but I am glad to have played it and to confirm it is not only a serious test of golf but a perfect match play venue and now I get it why it won the bid for the Ryder Cup … absolutely anything can happen in those final 8 holes from birdies to disaster just in play in every shot.
They get you to the course from the Resort in a Shuttle that lasts 2mins and you get to that fantastic elevated Club House which has pictures and memorabilia of the 2010 Cup and which injects a nice does of adrenaline previous to the first tee shot. Kind staff, everything working and in minutes you are just ready to face a monster. I played 6600yds (par 71) which in those wet not roll conditions where like 7000yds, plus wind and cold … fasten your seatbelts!
It is a course of a similar Look and Feel as Gleneagles PGA Centenary, with hills around the place, very nice views, a lot of water coming into play and very demanding greens to read. A Super Fun combo to make it that one round to test your game from 1st to 18th.
I would say front 9 are just a little bit “less good” than the back but holes 5th, 6th and 9th win the medals of that front 9. 5th can give you a better approach if taking a Tiger line but the green is very well protected by water, 6th demands a tough shot and any small push to the right is going to get the bath suit. And 9th from the back is Iron Maiden … 666yds, river all along the left side and a tough green … who said birdies come on par 5s?
10th is a short 3 but playing into a 2 club wind and was not easy, but from 11th the final stretch demands shot after shot until the end and it would be unfair to highlight one hole so will put all 8 in a very high note.
Is it usually wet here? Yes. Do you come to the UK for Links? Usually yes. Is it better than Porthcawl? Not close. But it is an amazing course and always great to tick off a Ryder Cup Venue.
I love the hotel and the ambience of the place. A proper golf experience. That said the courses aren’t as good as I’d hope for. The greens in particular weren’t that great, and there are some very bland holes. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad I played, and enjoyed my day there and it’s well worth going….just not as ‘special’ as some places.
I had been told some much about Celtic Manor before arriving for a weekend stay and play. Th resort lives up to its reputation as an excellent facility for golf and luxurious venue for dinning and hospitality. We played the 2010 course first in glorious sunshine and I have to say its gone straight into my personal top ten. Great holes that force course management to the front of your game. Condition was outstanding.
Firstly it’s a very good golf course that is set up for championship golf and in peak season it’s a serious test of golf in top condition (It’s a low handicappers course in my opinion) you can also expect the best service from any course In Wales it simply sets the bar that no other club comes near to.
But......it is very over priced due to its Ryder cup venue and don’t be tempted to play it during the winter months it’s just too wet.
In short if you pay top price and go there expecting a world class experience you’ll be disappointed.
A much under-valued course in my opinion and tainted by over expectation.
To me this is one of those courses that because of its reputation as a ryder cup course, leaves some people expecting amazing and therefore give a slightly skewed review when it doesn't meet their expectation. To me its a very well laid out course and if you didn't know its history and turned up one day out of the blue , you would most likely give it a better review that most seem to.
Unfortunately for a large part of the year the course is very very wet and I have even lost balls in the fairway, but despite this I really love this course.
Standout holes for me are a great par 3 third, dogleg over water 6th , par 5 11th , par 3 13th , drivable par 4 15th and then an amazing risk reward 18th hole.
So in a nutshell if you arrive expecting a really good course you will have a great day, if you expect truly world class it doesn't quite meet the mark and you might be disappointed. Nevertheless in my opinion in dry conditions its miles ahead of any other parkland course in wales, and for enjoyability factor gives the links course a good run for their money when its dry.
Is it possible for a course to be very good, but at the same time very over-rated? The old Wentwood Hills layout was, in my opinion, much better and a more slick design. The 2010 kept some of the old layout, and these are the best holes on the course, the newer ones are almost without exception... long.
There just is no subtlety to the 2010, its a "hit ball long" "hit approach over water" type of course. Its not a bad course, quite the opposite, its just so manufactured as a golfing challenge that it belongs on a video game rather than as a must play.
I have marked it as good, as it is very clearly a championship golf course, both in style and presentation, and the Celtic Manor know how to treat guests, no issue with anything other than the course for my money, and even then, if you take it for what it is, you wont be disappointed.
Host and built especially for the 2010 Ryder Cup, this course is built on farmland not too dissimilar to that of The Belfry, albeit with more elevation. As you would expect for a course built specifically for a Ryder Cup, the scale here is large, and the main design consideration was to challenge the worlds best golfers.
This is done with two main things- distance and water. The course plays a staggering 7,493 yards from the tips, and there is water everywhere. Therefore playing from the correct tees is crucial to having an enjoyable round.
With it being designed for pros, there are lots of forced carries which could definitely see an amateur player come unstuck. Also, despite all this winter there aren’t any particular memorable holes that I find myself thinking back on months later.
The course claims to have 6 signature holes, and whether this is true or not, the following are hoels that I enjoyed. The par 4 5th had a nice approach shot, with a stream short of the green (used a lot here). Following this, the 6th is a cape style par 4 which means there is a strategic, risk/reward tee shot.
Aside from the course, the general facilities here are top notch, with lockers engraved with players from the 2010 Ryder Cup, and the brilliant halfway house. Straight after the halfway house, there is a good par 3 with a slopey green and some pot bunkers.
The last is a good matchplay hole, similar to 18th at The Belfry, forcing players to decide whether to lay up or try and reach the green in 2. Overall, I would say the architect probably did a good job of building a course suitable to hold a modern Ryder Cup, but that doesn’t mean it’s a course I would want to play every day.
A good course thats always in good condition. Gets more credit than it should because of its Ryder Cup pedigree. The hospitality is great, and it's worth playing for the right price, just for the experience.
However there is much better golf to be found not far away on the south coast at Southdown, Pennard and Porthcawl.
A technical course, specifically built to challenge the modern tour pro. This means it has lots of length, lots of sand, and lots of water. As everything has been artificially created, the hazards have been carefully positioned to test the best golfers in the world. Staggered bunkers pinch in the fairways at driving distance, do you lay up, skirt them, or try to carry them? Forced carries over water are everywhere, with many fairways angled across you so you have to choose how much of the carry to take on. The site is fairly exposed, it felt like the wind was funneled through the valley and made a huge impact on shot selection. The greens were quick, immaculate and well guarded.
It's not a beautiful course, or even a classic course, however there is a good mix of holes and a balance of risk and reward, and I liked the way this course has been built with thought to match play. Only thing missing for me is a short par 3. This course asks a lot of questions, and really tests your ball striking.
Practise facilities and clubhouse are top notch as you would expect.
Course was in superb condition especially considering it was winter.