Golfs Superb Little Secret - Wales

By George WhiteJune 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
In the lands just off the coast of mainland Europe lie the mythical birthplace of the game of golf. We know them as the British Isles ' theres the country of Scotland, and England. Across the Irish Channel lies Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
 
If youre a golfer, undoubtedly youve heard of each. Every golfer, around the world, has the dream of one day going there and playing golf on the soil where golf was first played.
 
Celtic Manor
The Roman Road course at Celtic Manor Resort opened in 1995.
But wait ' havent we forgotten something? How about, Wales? Wales is the western portion of the island comprising England to the south and Scotland to the north. Wales is a hidden gem, undoubtedly one of the finest places in the world to tee up a golf ball, but one of the least self-trumpeting.
 
This week in Wales, the European Tour comes calling at the Celtic Manor Wales Open. Celtic Manor is one of Wales newer beauties, but it is by no means the only top Welsh layout. This year, three made Golf Digests top 100 international course list ' Royal Porthcawl, Royal St. Davids and Aberdovey. Royal Porthcawl was rated 15th on the list and the ninth best course in Britain ' higher, incidentally, than any course in England.
 
Wales, in European terms, has not been that well established as a golf destination, agrees Roger Pride, director of marketing for the Wales Tourist Board.
 
People know a lot about Scotland, England, Ireland. I guess here in Wales, we never realized what a great golf background we have.
 
Wales has a superb combination of the new ' American Robert Trent Jones, Jr., designed Celtic Manor ' and the old.
 
Weve got some tremendous traditional links courses, said Pride. Weve developed the whole idea of golf as it should be as a way of trying to capitalize golf in Wales. What we are trying to do is develop the idea of golf as a very relaxed atmosphere, where there is a genuine welcome, played in a great natural environment.
 
The terrain and soil in Wales is the same as in the remainder of the British Isles. The grasses are the same. But perhaps something has been missing which would call attention to them ' a massive clubhouse, perhaps. But then again, a huge clubhouse would detract from the idyllic charm of the out-of-the-way places.
 
We have some very old and established links courses, which again have not been as well recognized as some other countries ... places like Royal St. Davids, Royal Porthcawl - they could all compare with any links product anywhere, said Pride. And there are courses such as Nefyn, Conwy, Pennard, Southerndown, Tenby, Pyle and Kenfig, just waiting to burst onto the top 100 list. All these courses need is the infrastructure around it.
 
Celtic Manor
Celtic Manor Resort claims to have 'Europe's Finest Clubhouse.'
They dont have the mega-resorts around them, but to be honest, Im not even sure that is the way we should go.
 
But golf in Wales is due to get a huge boost in the coming years. The Ryder Cup will be played there, at Celtic Manor Resort and now the reticent Welshmen will have to start touting all their golf venues ' Europeans, Americans and Canadians are bound to start flooding the countryside.
 
Its not all about the Cup, though, said Rob Holt of Ryder Cup Wales 2010. Its about everything the event raises.
 
Many Americans have not heard on Wales at all. It gives us an opportunity to tell a little about us. Were trying very hard to make ourselves better known ' Lets give everybody who comes across a great experience, give them the most spectator-friendly event theres ever been.
 
All our courses are very friendly, very welcoming. The prices are incredibly good. Most are only about $35. A woman from America came up to me and said, That must cost $200. I said, No, 35.
 
She said, Total? I said, Total.
 
Thats the type of thing you run into all the time.
 
Wales is only 1 hours by auto west of London, and Cardiff on the south coast has a major airport if thats too long a drive. For those who plan to attend the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland, Dublin to Cardiff is just a 30-minute plane ride and only costs the equivalent of approximately $71. Hidden in the country are numerous little treasures, all slumbering while waiting to be discovered.
 
And it took winning the Ryder Cup to actually create a catalyst, which has created a tremendous movement in Wales, said Holt. We now have a stated intent to be one of the worlds top golf destinations by the time the Ryder Cup comes in 2010.
 
The Ryder Cup is going to provide the platform.
 
Email your thoughts to George White
 
Related Links:
  • Learn more about Golf in Wales
  • Wales Tourist Board
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

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    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry