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Celtic Manor – Ryder Cup destination stands the test of time

There will always be a special place in my heart for Celtic Manor.

It was here that I covered my first and most memorable Ryder Cup for The Times newspaper, where I stood on the 18th green, soaked in champagne, as Team Europe danced with delight after another epic battle against their American counterparts. These are memories that will never fade.

And yet, that is a theme because every time I visit Celtic Manor Golf Resort I make new ones, lasting ones. My first visit to this magnificent Welsh resort came in 1999. I was working in the film business at that stage of my life, on location in Wales shooting what turned out to be a pretty awful movie called ‘Just Visiting’, starring Jean Reno, Christina Applegate and Malcolm Mcdowell.

Celtic Manor Golf Twenty Ten Course

Celtic Manor would not win the bid to host the Ryder Cup for another two years but the ambition from the recently re-opened hotel was clear. I would return a decade later to play the recently completed TwentyTen course, a year before the Ryder Cup. Waiting for us were personalised locker tags, a warm welcome and a starter who attempted to set the scene for what was to come some 12 months later. I returned in the autumn of 2010 to cover the main event, of course. And then a year later, I was invited to play in the ‘Writer Cup’ a battle between European and US golf journalists. And yes, Europe won that one too.

I have visited on my own, with my wife, with friends and with golf buddies. And the great thing is that on each occasion, there has been something for everyone. Yes, the golf, of course. But also the award-winning restaurants, spa, romantic country walks and adventure activities too. So what’s the verdict?

THE CELTIC MANOR GOLF COURSES

As you may know, Celtic Manor has three courses. The TwentyTen is the longest and most challenging. The final three holes are a brutal test, but there is joy in walking in the footsteps of greats of the game, knowing where famous shots were played from and famous duffs (looking at you Hunter) happened. Easier to relate to those moments than the 280yd 3-woods off the deck.

Celtic Manor Golf
The TwentyTen course at Celtic Manor. Credit: Celtic Manor

The Montgomerie Course, designed by 2010’s victorious captain, is just as spectacular, but altogether more manageable for golfers unable to marmalise a golf ball. It is charming and subtle, it is challenging and enjoyable. Colin Montgomerie has included hints of Royal Troon, where he grew up playing, with the deep and penal pot bunkers. There are a number of spectacular vistas and demanding tee shots over valleys. The changes in elevation also make club selection difficult. All in all it is a thoroughly excellent golf course.

I have not, as yet, played the Roman Road course but have heard good things. It was Celtic Manor’s first course, having opened in 1995. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior, it is visible from the hotel and from the paths and roads around it and twists and turns its ways through trees and across streams to reveal views across Somerset and Devon. I will play it when I next return, as I certainly will. Perhaps with the family next time, with so much to do.

Celtic Manor Golf
The academy at Celtic Manor

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT IN WALES

Celtic Manor Golf Resort is also a fantastic place to practice. The Academy has it all: a two-tier driving range, endless short game areas, putting greens and labs, and even a state-of-the-art swing studio. So if any non golfers fancy an afternoon nap, you do that and then nip out to the academy and get lost in your game. What’s not to like?

The imposing and lavish atrium of the Celtic Manor Hotel, gives you a hint of what lies ahead. Golf is a focus here, but not overwhelmingly so.

Celtic Manor Golf
The lobby of the main hotel at Celtic Manor

Yes, there is a golf shop in the small shopping mall to the back of the reception desks, but there is enough to do away from the sport to justify a weekend here where you don’t pick up a club. The main hotel bar is always alive with laughter and ambience. The grand piano dominates this vast space, but broken up well with a number of nooks and crannies to hide in if you want to push the rest of the world away. Fresh flowers illuminate the common areas and the giant sculpture of a Welsh dragon cannot be ignored.

Celtic Manor Golf Resort
A starter from Newbridge on Usk restaurant

The staff are warm and charming, check in is smooth and welcoming and that chemistry, should you want to be, could set the tone for a romantic break. The rooms I have stayed in have always been large and impressive. I remember thinking of my first visit in 99, that I had never slept in a bigger bed. I could have stretched my 6ft frame either across the bed, or down it, should I have wished.

The decor is soft and luxurious, but certainly in the traditional bracket rather than the contemporary one. The food was good throughout, although not cheap. Would you expect it to be? Our favourite restaurant on the estate was the Newbridge on Usk, mainly for its serenity and peacefulness, overlooking the River Usk and with a menu that is innovative and local. The feel is more casual than other options and we loved it. Highly recommended.

The service throughout was always good.

CELTIC MANOR GOLF JUST ONE OPTION

The spa was also put to the test. It sits in the basement of the hotel, close by and convenient. Not cheap but one would not expect it to be. The Forum Signature massage, which uses classic Swedish techniques, is worth a go and I the Elemis modern skin facial is, I am told, worth trying too. Our only regret, this far, is not bringing our children with us for a few days away.

Celtic Manor Golf Resort is a place not just for romantic weekends and golf breaks but also for children and families too. That much is obvious. The hotel pool puts on separate family fun sessions, there’s also play areas, a babysitting service and crèche. And there is even an adventure golf zone, which I know would go down particularly well with my 6-year-old. There is even an outdoor adventure playground where kids can let it all hang out and do what they do best.

And for the adventurous there’s a Forest Adventure course, where you can navigate the forest from the tops of the tress. So much to do. So little time.

Celtic Manor Golf Resort
The swimming pool at Celtic Manor

It feels, to me, as though there is not one Celtic Manor but many. This feels like a resort that is so well set up and laid out, so well thought through that each time you come it bends to meet your needs – whether that be the romantic weekend, the golf trip, family fun or even a business trip. And that, I think, makes it somewhere worth returning to, mainly because I can’t wait to see which Celtic Manor Golf Resort is there the next time I pitch up. Can’t wait.


CELTIC MANOR GOLF: KEY FACTS

Celtic Manor Golf Contact Number: +44 (0)1633 410 262.
Course designers:
Ross McMurray, Colin Montgomerie
Cost: Visit https://www.celtic-manor.com/golf/visitor-golf for the latest offers
Where it ranks: Consistently in the top 100 courses.
Length: Various. The TwentyTen course measures 7,008 yards, par 71.

CELTIC MANOR GOLF: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What golf deals are available at Celtic Manor Golf Resort?

Celtic Manor offers a huge variety of golf deals and packages to suit different preferences and group sizes. At the time of writing Celtic Manor was offering a two-course stay and play deal for £90 and a Ryder Cup two course offer from £126.

Is there a Celtic Manor golf range?

Yes, the Celtic Manor golf range boasts state-of-the-art technology and top-tracer capability to ensure not only can it deliver incredible custom fit options but that golfers can get instant feedback.

How much is Celtic Manor Golf Membership?

Celtic Manor Golf membership breaks down into a number of categories – including TwentyTen, Championship, Corporate, Caerleon and Academy membership. At the time of writing, Championship membership – which gives you access to two courses – was around £80 per month. For more information or to make an enquiry about Celtic Manor golf membership click here.

Is there a Celtic Manor golf shop?

There are a number of Celtic Manor golf shops, one in the main hotel lobby, one in the main academy and one in the TwentyTen clubhouse too!

Are Celtic Manor golf lessons available?

Absolutely, Celtic Manor golf resort has a number of experienced professionals offering lessons for golfers of all skill levels. Click here for more information.

How much are Celtic Manor green fees?

Celtic Manor green fees vary based on factors such as the course you are playing, the time of day and day of the week and whether you are on a stay and play package, which certainly offer the best value. You can pay as much as £199 for a round on the TwentyTen Course at Celtic Manor and as little as £23 to play on one of the other two courses, it all depends on when you want to play.

Can I purchase a golf voucher for Celtic Manor?

Yes, there are Celtic Manor golf vouchers that make for great gifts or special treats. Click here to buy one.

What is the Celtic Manor Golf Ryder Cup story?

Celtic Manor Golf Resort famously hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup and it was one of the most dramatic contests of all time, with Europe narrowly defeating the United States on the final day of singles in one of the last matches on the course.

CELTIC MANOR GOLF SCORECARD

CELTIC MANOR 2010 SCORECARD

Celtic Manor TwentyTen Scorecard

CELTIC MANOR MONTGOMERIE SCORECARD

CELTIC MANOR 2010 COURSE MAP

Celtic Manor TwentyTen Course Map

CELTIC MANOR GOLF ROMAN ROAD SCORECARD

Celtic Manor Golf Roman Road Scorecard

CELTIC MANOR GOLF COURSE MAP

Celtic Manor Golf Resort Map

The founder of The Wandering Golfers, Ben grew up on the links of Scotland learning the game from his beloved Grandpa. Previously a writer and broadcaster for The Times and BBC

12 Comments

  1. Such a vidid review of a place i have wanted to go for ages. This will push me to book it with my husband. Excited already!

  2. Great review. Just want to go now!

  3. Who knew that a wet weekend in Wales would charm us all. I am there, well soon I hope

  4. The 2010 course sounds like the one for me. And even better news if I can bring my wife and make it a weekend for us both. Love it!

  5. I watched during the Ryder Cup and I guess I knew how good the resort was but just got caught up watching the golf! Even though we lost, I will definitely make a trip here on my next golf tour to the UK.

  6. Fantastic review. Celtic Manor is on my list. Well it is now! Thank you

  7. The photos look great. I want to play thus golf course! And now I have the ammunition to persuade my wife. Thank you!

  8. Great write up. I am US based but will add to the list for next spring!

  9. Great review. I need to go here!

  10. The Ryder Cup seems 2mins ago and yet here we are 10 years on. I have been meaning to go for ages. But will get serious now! This has got me in the mood to book!

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