Celtic Manor Golf Centre July 2018

Another in the large series of golf course reviews I have done (2).

Not so long ago I was very lucky to be invited to a Golf Society weekend at Celtic Manor Golf Course, Wales. The main course (the 2010) is quite famous having been the venue for the 2010  Ryder Cup, won by Europe (Here) .

On day one we played the Montgomerie Course, named after the designer and Captain of the 2010 Europe squad, Colin Montgomerie. This was a bit of slog in near 30 degree heat, as I didn’t have a buggy. That said with wide fairways in places, and no buggys allowed off the side paths, it was a bit of a pain for some of the buggied players as well, as they were constantly carting 2 or sometimes 3 clubs off with them every time they left their carts. The real killer was between the holes , there are some long walks, which do take their toll lugging a full bag and trolley. I would advise a buggy !

Anyway, A really nice course, with some challenging dips and climbs as it navigates its way around the 2010 course in places. There is an amazing view of the 2010 from the walk through from 3 to 4 ( i think, but could be wrong) which I neglected to take a picture of , so you will have to take my word for it. With the layout, there are some humps with then huge fairways going downhill behind which would really favour the long driver. I played pretty poorly and couldn’t get a run going at all, to the extent that I don’t think I played 2 consecutive decent shots all day. But fun in the sun anyways.

That evening we stayed on site, and enjoyed being ferried about by the on site coaches to our meal at the Rib Smokehouse and Grill and then back to the Manor house for post meal drinks.

Sunday was the main event on the 2010 course, and as we had left our golf bags at the previous course, all we had to do was rock up on the bus to the clubhouse of the 2010, where everything was waiting for us. The locker room was many time the size of my house, and I was given Darren Clarke’s locker to use!

We were then all asked our initials (odd) and then ferried off to be reunited with our clubs at the driving range. After smashing a few balls around, we loaded up the buggies, got a team photo done at the Ryder cup hoarding at the 1st and got underway.

This felt a whole better round to be to begin with, or maybe I hadn’t had as much to drink as everyone else the night before. Driving was straight, and chipping was solid if not spectacular. My new one handed putting technique was paying dividends (more on that later).

As we made our way around you could tell this was purposely built for The Ryder Cup. Decent gaps between fairways, and quite tricky meant , each hole had its own character. Some were linksy (1st). Some were straight out of the American Songbook (18th) . The back nine let me down somewhat meaning although a better score than the previous day, still nothing to be excited about. However that was more than made up by the whole experience, over the entire weekend.

Remember the being asked for initials earlier on ? Well, while you are going around, they make you up a metal keepsake to hang on your bag, with , da daaaa your initials on it.

It also turns out my new putting stroke is illegal, so back to the practice ground for me…..

The hotel was great, the foot was great, the weather was amazing, just need to improve on the golf but don’t we all.

Golf @ Bali Hai GC Las Vegas Nevada

OK, So I’ve been wanting to do some course reviews for ages and seem to have the writing bug again so why not. Lets also get one thing straight, I’m not a pro by any stretch. Anything below 110 makes me happy, although with practice I need to be sub 100 80% of the time and as football is starting to take a back seat I need to push on with the sticks and balls.

My latest round was at Bali Hai in Vegas, just off the back of the Mandalay Bay near the Fabulous Las Vegas sign (visible through the trees on the back 9) . Not a usual venue for me but I had an invite from @Onechiquita and @VegasDWP while I was on vacation so time to step up my game. Unfortunately DWP couldn’t make it in the end due to back issues, so myself and Alysia soldiered on.  

Prior to the game, we hit the driving range and although very short and netted , there was a pyramid of Callaway balls freely available in each bay to smash down the track, which is a nice touch.

At 7000 yrds its a long one, and I imagine in the heat a killer as it is all open with no shade. Stuffed in between Las Vegas Boulevard and the I15, you would think it’s pretty noisy but I found it very relaxing even with the planes from McCarran passing over regularly. Buggies are essential.

The 1st hole has a long gravel trap to the left for about 200 yrds and I found it easily with my tee shot. Not a great start.

Being in the desert, sand was plentiful, and I found many bunkers, but with a South Pacific theme to the course, I suppose more sand than usual is standard. But with the sand came water and there was plenty of that as well, as I discovered on the back 9 with 2 visits to the pond in front of the green.

The course itself despite being man made has a good undulation and sometime you are firing off into the unknown. It has the feel of a wider links course in places, but without the killer rough.

The clubs supplied were Callaway XR’s which didn’t feel too different to my Callaway Big Berthas. But the hybrids were fantastic and may be a future purchase.

Overall worth the $160 including club hire and buggy. We did try to scam local rates for me but that didn’t quite pan out due to their very on the ball identification policies !

16pts Stableford and 117 says i didn’t play well. With the exception of a few holes I thought I played OK. The course is huge. 3 of the 5  par 3’s are near 200 or over. The others are over water and round other hazards. There are a few +450 yrd par 4’s as well. So all in all I got what my golf deserved.

I’ll give the course 5/5 for location, and 3/5 for the actual course. Its a bit long in places and suits the better player.