Work has started on the first phase of the redevelopment of the Wentwood Hills Course at Celtic Manor for the 2010 Ryder Cup. A new par 3 second hole is being constructed which will become an interim hole when construction of the new holes impacts on parts of the existing course. Golf course architect Ross McMurray of European Golf Design explained that the new hole would be used to maintain a full 18 holes when the existing third hole is taken out of play to construct what will become the 16th hole on the Ryder Cup course. Eventually this hole will also be part of a new nine hole loop which will be created from the holes which are not to be used as part of the new course.
The new hole looks fairly formidable. As McMurray explained, “At 180 yards, guarded by bunkers at the front and back and framed by trees on either side, it will make a challenging uphill par three. The green will slope down from the back right and anything short will catch a sharper slope at the front and roll back. It will sit nicely within the present start of the Wentwood Hills course and actually eliminate a long walk between the present first and second holes.”
Construction work is being managed by M.J. Abbott under the watchful eye of Jim McKenzie, the director of golf at Celtic Manor,.
Construction on the new holes and clubhouse down in the Usk Valley will not begin until next summer at the earliest but McMurray said he was looking forward to beginning work on the new course proper.
“Detailed surveys are now being finalized,” he said “but we won’t start on the other holes before next year’s Wales Open. Much will depend on the works programme for the other parts of the redevelopment, as well as tournament dates and the weather. It is a fairly complicated matter as, obviously, we do not want to disrupt either the Wales Open or, as far as possible, general play on the Wentwood Hills Course at other times. We have ample time to build and grow-in the new holes, especially as we have an additional year with the date of the Ryder Cup moving from 2009 to 2010.”
The Wentwood Hills course is one of a trio of layouts designed by the legendary Trent Jones family including the par 69 Roman Road, voted best inland course in Wales, and the par 59 Coldra Woods, a PGA short course championship venue.
Next year the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open will have a prime position on the European Tour international schedule and a much bigger prize fund. The purse for the 2003 tournament is increasing for the third year running, this time from £1.1m to £1.5m, double the total prize money of the inaugural Wales Open in 2000. The event will be held from 29th May to 1st June, the week immediately after the Volvo PGA Championship and two weeks before the US Open Championship, in one of the premier slots in the 2003 season.
European Golf Design www.egd.com
M.J. Abbott www.mjabbott.co.uk
Celtic Manor www.celtic-manor.com