The mystique of the Ryder Cup continues to grow thanks to another exciting event. From a television vantage point at least the Matches appear to have been played in the spirit in which intended with sportsmanship displayed by members of both sides. The crowd, while clearly favoring the home team, were respectful to all of the players.
The course design looked ideal for the Matches. The closing hotels, fifteen onwards were terrific match play venues.
I think in general, given the electric finish to the Matches, the frustrating weather conditions were regarded as a thing of the past. I have seen some bloggers suggest the Matches be hosted in warmer climes, while the dates for Celtic Manor may not have been ideal there is no doubt it was a reasonable risk and well within “the season” to host such an event.
Looking forward, what will be the impact on golf tourism to Wales? From an American perspective I think Celtic Manor has certainly made it’s way onto the golf map and golf in Wales will enjoy a bump. If history is anything to go by, both Valderamma (Spain, 1997) and the K Club (Ireland, 2006) enjoyed short term activity but the longer term benefit from the U.S. marketplace has been more muted. Another dynamic that is now in play as more continental European countries are connected to the event by virtue of team members, e.g. Molinari brothers from Italy. Golfers from these countries are also now keenly aware of Celtic Manor as a golf destination.
For the last several years, and I suspect it will continue for the foreseeable future, the Welsh Tourist Board have worked tirelessly to promote golf in Wales. A number of noted golf travel writers and publications have been hosted in Wales during the last 18 months with commensurate exposure.
Longer term, the key for the Welsh is to sustain the interest generated at this event and continue to focus attention on many of the outstanding links courses which dot the coastline….coupled with unique hotel experiences.