Where to Stay: Celtic Manor Golf Resort
The original course at the ever-impressive Celtic Manor Resort and designed by Robert Trent Jones and tastefully named after the “old Via Julia Roman highway”. The road originally meandered through the sloping fairways on the resort that has an incredible history and the former site of the Lydia Beynon Maternity Hospital which in itself has a fantastic story.
The Roman Road course at Celtic Manor is a very fair test of golf for anyone considering a golf break in Wales and although only a Par 70, still offers golfers with imaginative shot-making opportunities over the 18 holes of Championship Golf.
The Roman road has held its fair share of European Tour and Senior Tour events over the years. Although the majority of illustrious events have now moved on to the Ryder Cup designed 2010 course at Celtic Manor, The Roman Road still holds fantastic memories and is a class in design.
The Roman Road is not what you would call long “In new money terms” and at only just over 6,000 yards from the yellow tees one would expect this being the lesser course of the three now on offer at Celtic Manor.
The Roman Road course comfortably sits as an equal in the company and as an individual course with the two later designs; The Montgomerie and the 2010 course.
The romantic in me always takes time to appreciate original layouts, and although, the Roman Road can feel a bit “American” in places you do get a great sense of what Robert Trent Jones was originally looking for in his design. The layout of holes does, in fact, preserve some of the old Roman archaeology, and this would have been the vision of Jones.
The Roman Road last held a prestigious event in 2007 when it played host to the Celtic Manor Wales Open and played as a Par 69 and the very last course to play this length on the European Tour. South African Richard Sterne won the event.
As the name suggests designed by Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie, the new Montgomerie golf course opened for play in 2007 and was designed around the first and last holes of the old Wentwood hills golf course and the land from the coldra woods academy. This great and challenging parkland style golf course is a fantastic addition to the sterling Celtic Manor Golf resort. Colin wanted to combine traditional parkland layout with almost links-like feel in some of the features of the golf course, which include deep pot bunkers and largely sloping greenside drop-offs. Whether this has been accomplished or not has often created debate with knowledgeable golfers who are always fascinated by golf course design, however, what is unanimous in opinion is that the Montgomerie course is a challenging and rewarding and an exciting golf course. Playing at a Par 69 and at just under 6,400 yards from the black tees, the Montgomerie is always enjoyed when staying at Celtic Manor.
Some of the tee shots require decent carries over the Welsh Valleys and with some theatrical scenery.
The third hole is considered by many to be one of the best holes over the entire three courses at Celtic Manor. A daunting tee shot between a tight set tree-lined fairway with sloping natural contours left to right which requires an accurate and powerful tee shot to give you any hope of getting close in two shots on this great par 5.
In the winter the sensible play is to just get as far down the right-hand side of this fairway, leaving your second to set up a pretty straightforward approach shot to a green. However, in the summer, the potential is there to use the contours, try to get as close to the green as possible, setting up for a possible birdie.
All eighteen holes offer lots of elevation changes and a variety of golf shots that will be required to be played.
The Montgomerie is arguably the prettiest of the three courses on offer at Celtic Manor and provides an entirely different test to the 2010 Course and the original layout of the Roman Road.