South Wales Regional Overview
A brief insight into South Wales!
Sir Terry Matthews was a man with a dream. One of the richest men in Britain, he wanted to build a golf resort in Wales. Not just any old golf resort, and not just any old golf course.
He wanted to build a course fit to stage the Ryder Cup. Matthews is not the first (and won't be the last) to have such a plan. The difference between him and most of the others, however, is that he had both the resources and the clout to turn his dreams into reality, and to put the region on the world map as a golf destination.
As far as Matthews is concerned it all began back in 1980 when Celtic Inns Ltd bought a derelict Manor House. The vision for what followed came from Matthews, the company's chairman. He lives in Canada where he founded two successful telecommunications businesses, Mitel and Newbridge Networks. However, he was born in the Manor House, when it was a maternity hospital, and has strong family ties in the area.
From the outset, Matthews realized that the site, with its beautiful surrounding countryside and proximity to the M4, had the potential for development into a thriving business. He knew it would help to put Wales on the map, as well as creating jobs for local people.
“I think the resort can act as a magnet to draw new investment into Wales from across the UK and overseas,” he said. “I did my best to put up a building that you can see from the West End of London and I didn’t come far short of it.” While that may be stretching a point, the hotel he built is magnificent and a wonderful focal point for what became Celtic Manor Resort.
It features a soaring atrium, distinctive design and traditional luxury, and embodies a feeling of understated glamour that is both opulent, yet comfortably relaxed.
The bedrooms and luxury suites enjoy spectacular views over the Twenty Ten Course, which was created for the 2010 Ryder Cup when Colin Montgomerie's European team defied dreadful weather to beat the United States. It is set in the Usk Valley, which stretches as far as the eye can see. Award-winning dining and world-class golf and spa facilities provide the finishing touch for a luxurious stay at one of Europe’s finest resorts.
The Resort Hotel is home to flagship dining at the Terry M, The Olive Tree and Merlins Bar, along with the magnificent Forum Health Club and Spa, Forum Café and the Celtic Mall.
So just how good is the Twenty Ten course? It certainly wasn't seen at its best during the Ryder Cup, but it was testimony to the quality of the layout that it withstood torrential rain and still produced conditions that were good enough to host some of the world's finest golfers. Nobody had ever produced a purpose-built course for the Ryder Cup, and there were those who felt Matthews had lost his mind when he announced plans to do just that.
But, as they say, the end justifies the means. Did Matthews and his team pull it off? You bet they did.
It measures a formidable 7,493 yards off the back tees and has a par of 71. With water hazards on half of its holes, the course has six signature holes and presents many memorable tests and risk-and-reward dilemmas. One of the features of the course is its sheer variety, with many of the holes on the front nine having a links-like feel with long rough and greenside swales, before the middle section reveals the full extent of the lake-lined challenge.
This is the first course on my signature tour in the wonderful golfing region of South Wales. On the rest of this tour, you will play Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown, Ashburnham and Pyle & Kenfig Golf Course. Read my reviews of each course to make up this spectacular golf tour on an unforgettable trip to Wales:
The Twenty Ten Golf Course Review
The Twenty Ten Course opens with a 465-yards par 4 that is very much a risk-and-reward hole where an...
Royal Porthcawl Golf Course Review
Royal Porthcawl overlooks the Bristol Channel on the Glamorgan coast between Cardiff and Swansea. To...
Pyle & Kenfig Golf Course Review
P&K, as it is known locally, hugs the South Wales coast and offers stunning views of the Bristol Cha...
Southerndown Golf Course Review
Southerndown opened in 1905 and has a real links feel about it. Unlike many seaside courses, there a...