Today marks the debut of The Twenty Ten Course at The Celtic Manor Resort, as a European Tour venue. The course, which has been specifically designed to stage The 2010 Ryder Cup, plays host to The Celtic Manor Wales Open 29th May to 1st June.
Opened in July 2007, the course combines nine spectacular new holes designed by European Golf Design with nine holes from the original Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed Wentwood Hills golf course which have been extensively remodelled. The new course measures 7,493 yards from the back tees with a par of 71. For The Celtic Manor Wales Open the course will measure 7,352 yards.
Michael King, director of European Golf Design and former Ryder Cup player, commented, “We are very excited The Celtic Manor Wales Open is being held on the new Twenty Ten course. This sees the culmination of eight years work for European Golf Design. I know the new course will provide the players with a terrific and enjoyable challenge during The Celtic Manor Wales Open as we head towards The Ryder Cup in 2010.”
The brief was to create a golf course that could deal with the particular requirements of hosting a Ryder Cup in addition to challenging the world’s greatest players in Tournament competition. Close coordination between European Golf Design and The European Tour Staging Department ensured that the design catered for all the elements needed to stage a major sports event including creating areas for tented villages, building dedicated platforms for hospitality units, incorporating space for all the media and television requirements, providing good spectator viewing points and ensuring practical and safe public access.
Vast platforms for corporate hospitality were constructed running virtually the entire length of the final three holes, while the slopes below these platforms offer superb viewing for thousands of spectators not only of these holes, but across the whole of the golf course.
Ross McMurray, designer, European Golf Design, said, “It has been a great privilege to play a part in the development of the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort and to have the opportunity to create a golf course that is not only capable of challenging the world’s greatest players but can also deal with all the requirements of staging a Ryder Cup.
“It has also been an interesting exercise to successfully balance the various requirements of engineers, archaeologists, ecologists and The European Tour Staging Department with the need to create a golf course that will host both The Celtic Manor Wales Open and The Ryder Cup as well as provide a high quality golfing destination for visitors to the resort. It was a real team effort from the start and I would like to thank all those who have been involved in this hugely exciting project.”
The whole course is played along the floor of the Usk Valley affording wonderful views in all directions along the valley and towards Caerleon. Water comes into play on nine holes creating some exciting risk and reward opportunities, an important component of the design given The Ryder Cup’s match play format.
Many of the holes have been designed to provide different options for the golfer both from the tee and the fairway and a variety of tees have also been constructed to allow flexibility in the way the holes can be set up. The last three holes have been cut into the lower slopes of the valley and will provide a challenging and dramatic conclusion, particularly at the 18th where players must decide whether to carry a pond in front of the green with their second shot or lay up and leave a tricky pitch from a downhill lie over water to a raised green.
Because of its setting within the Usk Valley the site is particularly sensitive and a tremendous amount of work was done to reduce the impact of the scheme on the environment. Detailed surveys of the ecology of the site were carried out and as a result various elements such as planting corridors and protection buffer zones were included within the landscape design.
By using careful management regimes the aim is to encourage greater bio-diversity within the golf course, especially when compared to the previous pastureland, which had a relatively low ecological and landscape value. Particular emphasis has been placed on increasing habitat creation by incorporating a variety of vegetation types, as well as streams, wetlands and planted areas.
In addition to its ecological importance the whole district around Caerleon has an important archaeological heritage and an archaeological survey was therefore on-going throughout the construction works. A number of important Roman finds were made and, on a number of occasions the golf course design was adapted to ensure there was no destruction of sites of historical value.