Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A Wales Of A Good Time
This year’s Ryder Cup Host offers great golf and sightseeing.
Royal Porthcawl is one of the world’s best courses.
Long passed over by golfers making a beeline for Scotland and Ireland, Wales will finally earn its place as a reputable golfing destination this year when it hosts the Ryder Cup. Although best known for its castles, plethora of sheep and passionate rugby fans, this tiny, proud nation is a must-visit for golfers looking to have authentic links experiences.
Where To Play
Celtic Manor Resort. Located just two hours west of London, Celtic Manor is home to three courses, including the Twenty Ten, site of this year’s Ryder Cup. Remodeled and rebuilt from the resort’s former Wentworth Course, the long, tough Twenty Ten is the first golf course constructed solely for the game’s most important international event. Two other courses, the Montgomerie and Roman Road, provide more player-friendly alternatives to the championship Twenty Ten.
Royal Porthcawl. Worthy of inclusion in the Open rota, this links toughie probably won’t ever host a British Open because of its remote location. And that’s a shame. It’s one of the world’s best courses.
If the summer is dry, expect short rough and browned-out fairways; if it has been wet, prepare for rough that can reach your knees. Either way, the wind can really howl, making Porthcawl a test for anyone.
Southerndown Golf Club. Built 200 feet above sea level atop a bluff overlooking the Ogmore River valley, Southerndown ranks as one of the game’s most unique experiences. Sheep—lots of ’em—roam the course oblivious to flying golf balls. (Be prepared to shoo a few away that graze on grass between you and your target.) Rumor has it that a ball once lodged in one of the sheep’s rear ends; he held onto it and later dropped it closer to the green. I kid you not.
Tenby. Wales’ oldest golf course is a short, quirky links layout located just a few minutes from the charming seaside town for which it was named. Despite measuring only a little over 6,000 yards, Tenby plays a lot longer when the wind blows and the rough is up. Because it’s in an environmentally protected area, the rough can be cut only twice a year, making for lots of lost balls. Its only blemish is holes 15-17 on the other side of the railroad tracks. These three holes aren’t part of the original configuration and so are void of the rest of the course’s character.
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