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Ryder Cup 2010 'will be the best ever for spectators'

Oct 22, 2009 | Blog

The image of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley diving into the lake at the Belfry following Europe's victory in the Ryder Cup in 2006 is an image that lives with many a golf fan.

No doubt the Celtic Manor Resort would love for a similarly memorable moment to be created on its course when the contest comes to Newport in Wales next year.

Since it won the bid to stage the 82-year-old competition back in 2001, the venue has undertaken major work to ensure that the event is a success in terms of logistics and spectator experience. Whether or not it is a sporting success - from Europe's point of view - will be down to Colin Montgomerie and his team.

The preparations have been far from minor. The Celtic Manor Resort has built half a golf course and a new club house, as well as a new bridge to provide a link between the practice area and the course. Around £18 million has been spent on this construction work so far.

According to Paul Williams, public relations manager at the resort, it will all be worth it to create a unique experience for players, spectators and hospitality guests.

He said that building half a golf course from scratch has allowed the club to take the needs of spectators into account in a way which has not previously been possible.

"Normally its very difficult to see if you're four or five deep behind the gallery ropes but we've been able to build the four closing holes against a steep hillside, which is now providing these huge, great, natural viewing banks to get all these tens of thousands of spectators on to watch the important match at the end of the round," he explained.

"They can not only see onto those holes but also the valley below as well, so they might be able to see six or eight holes from any one vantage point and, hearing the roars coming up the valley, it should be quite an atmosphere and quite an event to watch," he added.

It is this that is going to make the 2010 Ryder Cup stand out as an event compared to previous years.

"People often say that you see far more on television - and that will still be true at this one as you can't be everywhere on the course at any one time - but in terms of what you can see from the hospitality pavilions and these viewing banks it's going to be the best Ryder Cup there's ever been for viewing," Mr Williams said.

From a purely practical point of view, the position of the Celtic Manor Resort will also improve the experience for the 50,000 people entering the grounds on each of the three days of the event.

With it being so close to the M4 motorway, the resort is highly accessible, which should help the traffic flow considerably and lead to less frustration for visiting fans and hospitality guests, according to Mr Williams.

The local events industry is also set to benefit from the event, he said.

"There will be lots of peripheral entertainments going alongside it in terms of coping with this massive influx of spectators, all the hotels are going to be full down to Swansea and beyond in Wales and of course over the bridge into Bristol and the south-west of England," he explained.

Mr Williams also suggested that companies are likely to want to put on incentive trips, whether they are hosted by the official Ryder Cup hospitality or other local events businesses surrounding the resort.

"Longer term, there has already been a great drive in Welsh golf tourism as a result of the Ryder Cup. Wales has never had a golf profile before, we've always had great courses but never had reason to shout about them before and the Ryder Cup has given us just that," he concluded.

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