The Gleneagles PGA Centenary course is a remarkable piece of golfing real estate. Of the three courses that Gleneagles offers, it is certainly the youngest. A Jack Nicklaus design, it has seen a lot of work in the past decade. Following the decision to award them the 2014 Ryder Cup, some adjustments were made, with a view to offering the world’s best players a chance to shine.
Nicklaus himself designed the original course, and he was brought back in the run up to 2014 to oversee the further changes. It was minimal stuff really; a new bunker here, raise the tee there, but the overall playing experience was greatly enhanced. Nicklaus’ vision was simple. “You want birdie chances. That is what the Ryder Cup is all about.” He clearly delivered on this, with low scoring leading to many lead changes, creating an exhilarating atmosphere for players and spectators alike.
Its parkland style offers a nice contrast to the Kings and Queens courses. It was important for the course to be different. The Kings course actually looms above the Centenary, and so it could not just be another long links game. There are some treacherous bunkers, a series of water hazards, and thick rough which may leave your ball in a precarious position. But as the pros have recently found out, the PGA Centenary course is the consummate golf test.
Now that the event is over and done with, the course has secured its place at golfs top table. The recognition from the golfing community of just how good Gleneagles was keeps flowing in. It must be expected to increase the popularity of the course, and it would be worth anyone’s while to try and recreate some of the magic seen during the last weekend in September.