Following the decision to award the 2014 Ryder Cup to Gleneagles and its PGA Centenary Course, there were concerns that the Jack Nicklaus layout would struggle to defend itself against the world’s best golfers and that logistical arrangements concerning the massive crowds that will no doubt want to be in attendance to see Messrs Woods, McIlroy, Donald and Co to battle would be difficult to manage.
Rather than waiting to see what happened Gleneagles, in consultation with Nicklaus himself, decided to carry out extensive course modifications which saw the resort’s 3rd golf course close for play from October 2011.
While this hasn’t stopped the golfing masses flocking to this great venue, which also boasts the charming Queen’s Course and the world class King’s Course, April the 28th will see the PGA Centenary reopen for play. This will allow golf enthusiasts the chance to experience the future Ryder Cup course for themselves during the two-year run-up to the match between the best from the USA and Europe.
The 9th on the PGA Centenary has been through extensive modifications.
Over 50,000 tonnes of earth have been shifted and shaped on the Gleneagles PGA Centenary over the past six months, with 30,000 square metres of turf laid, and 1,000 tonnes of new sand used in bunkers.
As well as design changes the course has been subject to further improvements including the installation of a SubAir system – an aeration and moisture removal system – on all 18 greens in addition to the practice putting green.
The main changes that visiting golfers will be interested in however are the changes to the course itself. Substantial changes have been made to the layout of several holes with the most dramatic alterations apparent on the 9th and 18th, two par 5s that, in all honesty, probably would have been torn to shreds by the big boys from the European and PGA Tours.
The opening hole on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles.
Drainage in all bunkers has also been improved using the “Better Billy Bunker Method” developed at Augusta National Golf Club.
To experience the changes for yourself why not pay Gleneagles a visit this summer? After all, the PGA Centenary Course is not the only attraction that this stunning resort has to offer…
Playing any of the three courses at Gleneagles is a delightful experience, with the springy moorland turf underfoot, the green hills to the South, and the peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich to the West.
The par 3 5th on the Gleneagles King’s Course.
The King’s Course has been a frequent stop on both the PGA Tour and Ladies European Tour since its inception in 1919. James Braid was determined to create a course which placed the emphasis on the golfer’s ability to shape his shots and be creative, which explains why Lee Trevino, one of the most natural players to ever play the game, said that, “If Heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee-times left.”
Threading through the high ridges on the north and east side of the estate, the Queen’s, which is many a members favourite of the three, has many moorland characteristics, and offers beautiful woodland settings as the course meanders through the glen. With indigenous lochans and streams incorporated as water hazards, this is a beautiful and genuine Perthshire classic.
The Gleneagles Queen’s Course is the favourite among many of the members.
In addition to the three world class golf courses and the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the resort, Gleneagles boasts one of the finest hotels, not just in the UK, but in the world. The grandiose building was designed to emulate the opulent style of a French chateau, while the manicured gardens were inspired by the celebrated 18th century horticulturalist Capability Brown. The quality of service on offer is unrivalled, with the hotel retaining a member of staff for each hotel guest.
In addition to infinitely luxurious accommodation and heavenly surroundings of the hotel’s grounds, Gleneagles boasts some of the finest restaurants in Scotland, including the two Michelin Star rated Andrew Farlie, the only restaurant in the country to have been awarded a second star.
The Gleneagles Hotel is one of the finest in the world and perfectly complements the three stunning golf courses.
The estate also offers a wealth of outdoor pursuits including horse riding, shooting, fly-fishing, falconry, mountain biking, tennis, squash and off-road driving. Indoors at ‘The Club’ there is state of the art fitness equipment, swimming pools, spa, Turkish baths, a sauna as well as first-class health and beauty treatments.
All in all it would be hard to argue that, away from the coast and resorts such as Turnberry and the Fairmont St Andrews, Gleneagles offers golfers visiting the birthplace of golf the finest holiday experience money can buy.