Friday, 14 May 2010

Celtic Manor Resort - the 2010 and Montgomerie courses

Polly and I usually try to play the Ryder Cup courses before the actual events in order to appreciate better the quality of the play during television coverage. We'd played the Belfry and K Club courses, so we jumped at the chance to play "The 2010" with the highly acclaimed Montgomerie course as a welcome add on. If the weather is kind, we think that the course will look great on TV and will be a supreme test for both teams. The 2010 course is an amazing 7493 yards par 71 off the back tees and with water hazards in abundance, it looked to be a real risk and reward course that would be superb for match play. Even off the yellow tees, the course measured a daunting 6570 yards (5654 for Polly). We'd bought a Strokesaver course guide, but I have to admit the profusion of blue water on the hole diagrams was quite scary and I regretted not taking the precaution of packing some more spare balls in my bag! Concentration was also difficult, since we'd started behind a large group of 4 balls on a corporate day out. Still, at least during our 5 hours 20 minutes round we had time to study the course and imagine how some of the world's best real golfers might fare. We also wondered what would happen if the weather was unkind during the Ryder Cup, as the Usk Valley is apparently prone to autumn morning mist and rain.

We both hit some pretty good (and bad!) shots over The 2010, the highlight for me being a 7 iron at the 144 yard 10th. I'd never had a hole in one, but after waiting an age for the green to clear (yes, the corporate day outing again!), it was finally time to go for the small plateau green, with the hole towards the front on a gentle slope between 2 bunkers. Amazingly, I'd managed to hit the shot almost exactly as planned but the ball passed an agonising inch or so to the right of the hole and finished a couple of feet behind it. So nearly a very expensive shot, given the bar prices back at the hotel! Polly had also hit a good shot and the guys ahead had seen us play, so at least there was the consolation that there were reasonable players (still) behind them. But to be fair, the guys had bought us a drink half way round and kept apologising for the pace of play. I suspect that the feature hole is the 14th, a scary 365 yarder par 4 with water and bunkers to contend with. I managed a creditable bogey 5. Here's a few photos that hopefully give a flavour of the hole.
I also liked the 15th shown here (from the Montgomerie course) and the 18th but there are so many very good holes I don't really have the space or time to mention them all. I'd gone round in 93, net 83, with some wasted shots (and 2 lost balls) and again, just sneaked home ahead of Polly in our holiday Stableford.

Please, do not miss it if you ever get the chance to play this excellent course! It's expensive, but you won't regret it.

We were both pretty tired after the 2010, so when we were advised by the Course Ranger that the Montgomerie was extremely hilly and had long gaps between holes, we accepted his strong advice to take a buggy. That turned out to be a very wise decision as the Montgomerie is undoubtedly one of the hilliest courses I've ever seen or played. At 5863 yards par 69 off the yellow tees it's not overly long, but we were agreed that it was even more enjoyable than the 2010. The views are just amazing - go and see it for yourself, you'll not be disappointed. The view from the tee of the 584 yard 3rd is of a wide fairway between high pine trees and the hint of a downward slope at around 200 yards, but the views from the middle of the fairway (yes, I actually hit it!!) are simply superb, as shown here.

However, the highlight of my round had to be the 390 yard par 4 10th, a tricky downhill dog leg left, with a large pond in front of the green. If you zoom into this photo you'll see my ball, some 12 feet pin high. A hugely satisfying birdie followed and I ended up with another 93 (and a 3-0 lead, which knowing Polly's considerable golfing abilities as I do, might quickly disappear!)

Overall, the Montgomerie is a great test and was in superb condition. Play it if you get the chance. There's an amazing deal on at present £99 for a night in the 5 star Resort plus 2 rounds over the Montgomerie and the Roman Road course (which also looked pretty amazing). Celtic Manor is a long way from East Lothian but we had a great time and although there's many other courses in Scotland to play, we'd love to go back there sometime.

No comments:

Post a Comment