The Celtic Manor Resort is enjoying a post-Ryder Cup boom that
has seen bookings to play golf at the site of Europe’s triumph rise
by a third.
Since Graeme McDowell clinched the trophy on that now famous Monday, thousands have been desperate to follow in his footsteps.
It seems the two torrential downpours that forced the Ryder Cup into a historic fourth day have done little to dampen the contest’s long-promised legacy.
From the moment Colin Montgomerie’s Europe triumphed, the Usk Valley resort’s reservations team has taken about 1,500 calls a day.
This compares with an average of about 600 a day before the
world’s third most watched sport event arrived in Wales. Temporary staff brought in to man the phones during the Ryder Cup had to be kept
on as interest shows no sign of abating.
“Those calls in the week after the event resulted in 4,000 paid-for
tee times being booked on the three championship golf courses at Celtic Manor – or almost 600 tee times per day. Prior to the Ryder Cup, we’d expect about 200 of these bookings per day,” the
resort’s PR manager Paul Williams said.
“November looks particularly busy on the Twenty Ten Course as visitors rush to play us in the immediate aftermath of the Ryder Cup and when our seasonal green fee rates offer exceptional value.”
Even before the Ryder Cup, October and November were already
the busiest ever months for conferences at the resort.
“We haven’t really had time to draw breath since that dramatic
finish last Monday,” Mr Williams said. “Before the Ryder Cup we
were a leading UK golf and conference resort, over the last two weeks we’ve become a global brand and the challenge will be sustaining that in the coming months and years.”
While works to dismantle the enormous infrastructure dotted across the Twenty Ten Course continue, it is still very much business as usual on the fairways and greens.
The 110 ground staff, led by director of courses Jim Mc-Kenzie,
were hailed as heroes by the world’s media for saving the event. Despite almost half a month’s average rainfall falling within a few days, play continued just a few hours after the downpours ceased.
“Friday morning had started off as possibly the worst day of my life,” Mr McKenzie said. “On Sunday, when it rained again, it felt as if my world had fallen apart. I bumped into Colin (Montgomerie) in the hotel lift on Sunday and he said that if we didn’t play that day it would hit Europe hard.
“So I went to give my rallying cry to the troops and told them that
on Friday, while they had helped to save the Ryder Cup, that day they could help Europe win it.”
Less than two weeks after the dramatic climax, Mr McKenzie said
the inside-of-the-ropes playing area of the course remains in good condition.
“In fact the only complaint we’ve received from golfers playing the course is that the rough is too thick,” he said.
“That’s because we grew it to test the world’s best players and the golfers playing it now are actually enjoying the challenge of playing the Twenty Ten Course in Ryder Cup tournament condition.
“We’ve had nothing but praise for the condition of the tees, fairways and particularly the greens which are being cut at exactly the same height as they were for the Ryder Cup.”
The well-trodden spectator areas either side of the holes, however, were left resembling a muddy Glastonbury Festival.
The team has begun re-seeding and re-turfing some of these areas, but Mr McKenzie admits it’s going to be a “massive task”. “This was always going to be the case with more than a quarter of a million spectators over the week moving around a golf course in wet weather, so it is not unexpected,” he said.