Major changes to Gleneagles, host for 2014 Ryder Cup
Major changes are well under way to the Centenary course at Gleneagles in Scotland and host venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Centenary Course, orginally named the Monarch Course, was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened to the public in 1993.
n fact, the course was laid out over the 18 holes of the Glendevon Course and some holes of the Prince’s Course (the remaining holes of the Prince’s Course were incorporated into a new nine-hole ‘Wee Course’, designed by the Gleneagles greenkeepers, recalling the original Wee Course of the 1920s).
However there was a first outcry across Scotland as the course was the first to boast motorised cart paths.
And while the Monarch’s Course was renamed the PGA Centenary Course in February 2001 to celebrate the centenary year of the PGA controversy seems to have been a constant course companion and particularly with the hosting of the now annual Johnnie Walker Championship.
The European Tour first visited the course in 1999 when the tournament was known as the Scottish PGA Championship before Diageo enjoyed naming rights from 2002 to 2004.
But from 2005 when Italy's Emanuel Canonica won it's been named the Johnnie Walker Championship with Monty acting as Tournament Chairman.
However while Monty has done his utmost to promote the event reigning Open Champion, Darren Clarke, and who is among those in line for 2014 European Ryder Cup captaincy selection, has taken so much a dislike to the Centenary course so much so that he's not been sighted in the Scottish Highlands since finishing well down the field in the 2008 tournament.
Clarke has played the tournament just twice and failed to break 70 in eight rounds.
Seemingly, this ongoing criticism of the Centenary course led to Gleneagles calling upon Nicklaus and his design team to enact changes.
And judging by the work already being undertaken, especially at the ninth, 10th and 18th holes, they're not just band aid measures but major landscaping and redesign.
There is now a large pond lying to the right side of the ninth green and new bunkers have been added short of the green.
A series of new tees have been added left at the par three 1oth hole. Also a new 'sub air' system is been tested adn has been installed in the 10th green.
But by far the greatest amount of work to the course is being undertaken at the 18th.
Already, a new and raised tee had been installed at 18th along with a bunker on the right side of the fairway and right at the dogleg in front of the standout tall tree.
However the biggest surprise is that the entire landing area for the drives has been virtuall levelled and where some 35,000 tonnes of soil have been reworked to reduce the incline from seven metres to two metres.
There's a trio of bunkers short and right to protect the green while there will be two large bunkers for those wide and left.lete new green been laid down and three large bunkers yet to be grassed.
Also the spectator banking down the later stages of the holes had been considerable raised no doubt for better viewing.
Gleneagles indicate 27th April and with the 40th Ryder Cup to take place from 26th to 28th September, 2014.
However here under is one photograph of the changes being undertaken to the 18th at Centenary course but for a full picture gallery of the work currently underway check out Stuart Adams superb selection of photographs onI - www.golftourimages.com
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