Golf legend and course designer Jack Nicklaus paid a visit to The Gleneagles Hotel yesterday to see the changes to the newly reopened PGA Centenary Course, Host Venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup.
The course has undergone extensive modifications, in close consultation with The Golden Bear and his Nicklaus Design team, and reopened to the public on 28 April 2012.
Nicklaus said: “When I was asked to do the course more than 20 years ago, in those days it was a pretty challenging golf course. With the equipment and the golf ball and everything going so much further it needed alterations.
“The 18th hole was the biggest change. We dropped the green five or six metres and created a tremendous amphitheatre.
“It's not a very difficult hole but it's exciting, there will be birdies and eagles and bogeys on it and you're going to get shots that change hands. It’s more about creating good golf than creating the most difficult shots and course in the world. It’s about creating one that the guys will enjoy - and I think they will enjoy it.
“You are either blessed or limited by the piece of land you have and there are a lot of terrific places out there.
“There are a couple of places that need work but usually that’s where you end up building your best holes. It’s an excellent golf course and a good test of golf.
“If you go through the course, there is not a weak shot on it but you must keep balance.
“You can’t have four holes in a row breaking someone’s back as you have to give some relief and a birdie chance and the Ryder Cup falls the same way as that.
“I’m very proud of it.”
Patrick Elsmie, Managing Director, The Gleneagles Hotel, said: “After many months of working closely with Jack and his team to remodel the PGA Centenary, we’re delighted to welcome him here to give the course his seal of approval.
“It’s terrific to hear his positive comments on the course, which have been echoed by those guests and members who have had the opportunity to play it since the reopening in late April.
“In the run-up to the Ryder Cup in 2014, we expect thousands of golfers will take up the chance to play the final tournament course before it sees the golfing greats of the US and Europe do battle.”
To book a tee time on The PGA Centenary, or any Gleneagles course, contact Gleneagles Resort Sales on 0800 704 705.
The PGA Centenary was under maintenance from October 2011 until April 2012 to allow for extensive course modifications, devised in consultation with course designer Jack Nicklaus.
It reopened to the public on Saturday 28 April, allowing golf enthusiasts the chance to experience the final Ryder Cup course for themselves in the two-year run-up to the tournament.
Over 50,000 tonnes of earth were moved at the course over the six month alteration period - with 30,000 square metres of turf laid, and 1,000 tonnes of new sand used in bunkers.
The improvements include the installation of a SubAir system - an aeration and moisture removal system - on all 18 greens in addition to the putting green. Substantial changes have been made to the layout of several holes – with the most dramatic alterations apparent on the 9th and 18th.
Drainage in all bunkers has been improved using the “Better Billy Bunker Method” developed at Augusta National Golf Club.