On The 28 April I had the chance to play in a Your Golf Travel Ryder cup style invitational at Celtic Manor. The event, played in 12 pairs of 4 balls, took place on the infamous Twenty Ten course which as you may well know hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup. So I set off bright and early to Wales dressed in my Bunker Gear.
Its more than a round of golf at the Twenty Ten. It’s an experience. On arrival your clubs are whisked away by the hospitality team and you are taken to the locker room. The two ends of the room were used by the opposing Euro and US team during the event. Lockers have the names of the players that used them in 2010 in addition to your own tee time. I had the pleasure of using Miguel Angel Jimenez (AKA The mechanic). You are taken by shuttle bus to the first tee and practice area. You clubs are waiting, cleaned and ready to go.
Practice area was top quality, as you would expect for a true world class championship course. My dad and I were playing the for ‘Blue’ or US side. We were paired against a 15 and 28 handicap. After a warm up provided with a pro style pyramid of complimentary balls, it was off to the first.
The course is brutal, and possibly one the hardest I have ever played. The greens and fairways were in excellent condition. The course is a series of long and unforgiven holes with water, drops offs, deep punishing bunkers to crush the dreams of mere mortals and tour pros playing the course alike Mother nature also wasn’t on our side. The weather was far from spring like. Driving wind and at time rain that was sideways! You have to love the UK.
I am not the longest of hitters for a 7 handicap and this really made me struggle. A number of the holes were over 400 yards into a strong wind. For me, even after hitting the fairway, the second shot often required carry of 200 yards over water to small greens – A really tough test.
I was thankful the event was match play. Stroke play would have been embarrassing!
On a number of the holes there are plaques to signify key moments the Ryder cup. This is a great touch and helps you continue to connect to the events of 2010, including on the 12 hole where Tiger famously holed is second on the final day
The famous 18th is a brutal par 5. Playing at 600 yards, the water hazard short of the green is designed to swallow anything without sufficient carry. The fringe of the green is cut so short anything that does make the middle will find a watery grave. I counted 6 balls in our group that end up in drink on that hole alone. Albeit we were tired by this point and the hole was directly into the wind!
In terms of our match we lost 2 and 1. The 15 handicap, whilst 72 years old, steadily plotted his way round the course making net par after net par. We could not compete and he was a worthy winner.
Our team overall lost as well. To be honest scoring was a secondary consideration. A few drinks in the bar afterwards and a lovely 3 course meal.
Overall I would recommend anyone who has a chance to play the 2010 to give it a go. It will be a long round, but should be taken as a golfing experience to be enjoyed. The Resort hotel is fantastic as well and packed with golf related memorabilia.
Your Golf Travel did a great job with the event which was thoroughly enjoyable.