Celtic Manor - The 2010 Ryder Cup Host is Ready to Shine

While it's a fallacy that coal can be turned into glittering diamonds, it's nonetheless true that shining stars can blossom from the fertile soil of former Welsh coal country. Case in point, the five glowing stars awarded to Celtic Manor Resort - a luxury destination lauded as the best in the UK and situated less than two hours from London. With pampered service from staff, amenities fit for royalty and world-class golf to boot, Celtic Manor sparkles as brilliantly as the Hope Diamond.

14th Hole at Twenty Ten

In October 2010, even more stars will shine at Celtic Manor as the retreat will host the best in golf for the 2010 Ryder Cup. Next autumn the U.S. and Europe will clash in the world's ultimate team golf event. The drama will unfold over the 7,493-yard Twenty Ten Course, the first in history designed specifically to host the Ryder Cup.

Twenty Ten evolves in three acts. The opening holes offer a links-like ambiance as fairways weave to and fro over bumps and hollows, and level lies as rare as tap-in eagles. Framing the fairways are gnarly industrial-strength rough and greenside swales to gobble up shots lacking accuracy or authority.

5th hole at Twenty Ten

The middle of the stout 18 is a study in water management as insidious lakes threaten the golfer with penalty strokes at every turn. The final act at holes 14-18 bares the sharp teeth of Ross McMurray's redesign. Two holes will demonstrate classic Ryder Cup match-play dilemmas. The 413-yard 14th tests golfers' mettle: Take a long carry with a drive down the right hand side of the fairway for a better look at the putting surface? Or choose the safer route and face a sinister lake cutting in from the left with their second?

Crucial Ryder Cup matches might well turn at the driveable par-4 15th, where an aggressive drive requires clearing mature trees. Eagles are a possibility for the brave of heart. Like Augusta National, Twenty Ten is risk/reward golf with danger and heartbreak facing off against possible glory. It could end up proving to be the perfect Ryder Cup venue.

As the course was designed solely with the Ryder Cup in mind, spectators will have excellent vantage points to watch the action unfold. Three large viewing platforms were constructed for hospitality above the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Galleries are also able to gather on the huge natural mounds and hillsides to view not only the drama of the closing holes, but also the earlier action on the course below. The Resort has invested $26 million to develop the new course, clubhouse (which opened in fall 2007) and surrounding infrastructure.

In addition to Twenty Ten, Celtic Manor's 1,400-plus acres boast two other championship courses. The Roman Road, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., opened in 1995 as the resort's first course. Overlooking the Severn Estuary with views across to Somerset and Devon, Roman Road takes its moniker from the ancient east-to-west highway of Roman Britain crossing its fairways en route to the nearby Roman fortress town of Caerleon.

Roman Road Resort Hotel

Also not to be missed is The Montgomerie, a par-69 test with dramatic tee shots over broad valleys and breathtaking downhill approaches. Course designer and 2010 European Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie has drawn on his Scottish roots to develop a natural links experience with deep and penal pot bunkers lurking throughout. The layout also offers nice vistas of the Usk Valley and the Severn Estuary.

Despite its current grandeur, Celtic Manor possesses a humble but noble pedigree. On trips home to South Wales from Canada, Sir Terry Matthews - the Ottawa, Canada-based entrepreneur and the first billionaire from Wales - kept noticing a dilapidated old mansion for sale on a parcel of land resplendent with rolling vistas and wooded hills. Proving that life is indeed a circle, the old manse was the very building where he was born during its former life as a maternity hospital. For a modest investment, Sir Terry bought the land and Celtic Manor's journey to the pinnacle of UK destination resorts was launched.

Though the golf alone merits a visit to Celtic Manor, the destination Sir Terry created is heralded as the one of the finest in the world. Visitors will discover two hotels - the majestic, 330-room Resort Hotel and the historic, 70-room Manor House. Also on the grounds are five restaurants, two spas and health clubs, a golf academy and miles of hiking trails. A convention center, exhibition hall, an array of well-appointed suites, meeting rooms and large ballrooms are also available to host groups up to 1,500 for conferences, weddings and special events.

In 2010, the resort is ready to sparkle for the entire world. For more information, visit www.celtic-manor.com.

Getting There

Celtic Manor is 45 minutes from Bristol International Airport (BRS) and Cardiff International Airport (CWL). Daily, non-stop flights are available from Newark, New Jersey (EWR) to Bristol on Continental; and daily, one-stop flights are from New York (JFK) to Cardiff on KLM via Amsterdam. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is a two-hour shuttle, with rail service from Paddington Station (London) to Newport, Wales also available.