Perth and Kinross
18 holes | par 73 | 6360 yards | Heathland
Due to host the Ryder Cup in 2014, the PGA Centenary course is a marvel of golf course architecture. The 18-hole course that measures 6,360-yards from the yellow tees is built cleverly into the countryside that holds The Gleneagles Hotel. There are stunning views throughout the course which will no doubt keep even the best of players challenged from start to finish.
Located in the heart of Scotland between Perth and Stirling on the A9.
The critics will say: Why play such an Americanized course when you're touring Scotland? There is some truth to that, but the reality is that the modern Jack Nicklaus design is such a great change of pace to the resort's heathland King's and Queen's courses. The Centenary course is the rare Ryder Cup venue you can play, so that gives it celebrity status on par with some other bucket-list courses in Scotland. My 10-handicap game tends to melt when faced with such championship tests. In that regard, the Centenary can feel like a "slog" at times. The nice views of the surrounding glens - especially at no. 8 and no. 13 - and plenty of interesting twists of strategy throughout the day help overcome that fact. I'd probably put it in third place among the resort's other offerings, but that speaks more to the quality of the golf at Gleneagles than the lack of character at the Centenary.
I recommend this course
You'll probably hear the criticism regarding the Ryder Cup host at Gleneagles over and over: It's too American a design. That's true. The Jack Nicklaus design is not a magical links. The PGA Centenary course looks like a dozen or more resort tracks I've played in America. That doesn't mean it's a bad layout. It's just not what American tourists pay big bucks to play during an overseas links golf adventure. It will be, however, a great match play venue. Water hazards on the par 5s (likes holes 2 and 9) and cross bunkers (like the par-4 8th and par-5 16th) will force some risk-reward decisions. The tees of the short par 4s at No. 11 and No. 14 could be moved up to tempt players to drive the green. A hidden ditch makes the decision on No. 11 particularly dangerous. Sweeping elevation changes will look great on TV and add to the experience for spectators. The 18th green was redesigned just for the event. Its severe slopes will kick balls into deep collection areas and bunkers. Don't be surprised if an unlucky bounce on an approach shot swings a key match.
I recommend this course