The Ryder Cup kicks off tomorrow at Medinah in Chicago and its going to be an exciting tournament. There will be this and one more Ryder Cup before golf is played in the Olympics in 2016 and it will be interesting to see if any of the limelight of the Ryder Cup diminishes because of golf showing up in the Olympics.
Since the Europeans joined with the Brits to expand their team, the American and Euros are tied. So this year will be a tie breaker for these two teams.
I spoke today with Rob Holt, former executive director of Ryder Cup Wales, when the Ryder Cup was at Celtic Manor in 2010. Of course the question came up of “is the investment in hosting a Ryder Cup worth it?”. Rob told me that since they were awarded the event ,that Wales as a golf destination grew from 30,000 golf visitors a year in 2002 to 200,000 in 2010 and still growing as a result. It also will be hosting the Senior Open at Royal Portcawl in 2014 and are in the running for at least 2 other major events.
Golfers are looking to Wales these days as a golf destination.There are 160 golf courses in Wales, too many to choose from. Many are links courses, like Royal Portcawl and many Parkland courses like Celtic Manor. Celtic Manor has 3 courses including the Ryder Cup course and is a 5 star resort. Most of the courses in Wales are private but the definition of private there is much different than the U.S. Visitors and tourists are welcome to play these fine courses.
Last year I played Royal Portcawl and Pennard as well as a couple others and they were really wonderful. As an added bonus Wales is dramatically less expensive to play than Scotland or Ireland-- at least 20% cheaper, maybe even more-- and its lots closer to London.
Larry Berle is a golf travel writer and has played the entire Golf Digest Top 100 and written a book about his quest A GOLFERS DREAM www.GolfersDreamBook.com
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