Jack Nicklaus’s design firm is working on a final set of changes to the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles in Scotland, in advance of the course hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014.
The most significant alterations are being made to the finishing hole, which has been roundly criticised over the years. The Nicklaus team proposed a range of options to Gleneagles – rumoured to include the addition of a substantial water hazard – but the resort’s bosses decided that the most dramatic changes would require more work than was feasible. Construction work is now underway on a project that will see the championship tee elevated by two metres and relocated further forward and left, reducing the impact of the trees that bite into the right of the fairway.
35,000 tonnes of material is being brought in to reduce the rise between landing area and green, currently seven metres, to around two metres. A new, slightly lower, green is also being built. The three-tiered green will be protected by bunkers and swales, but both resort management and the Ryder Cup organisers hope that the new-look hole will be more likely to tempt players to get home in two. The new-look hole is expected to be in play by next May, with the work costing ‘several hundred thousand pounds’, in addition to the rumoured £25 million that has been spent upgrading the resort for the event.
Other alterations include the addition of a new pond to the par five ninth, to threaten those who try to reach the green with their second shot, and moving the championship tee on the par three tenth significantly to the left, to improve spectator flow while also bringing a greenside bunker more into play. Changes are also being made to the course’s twelfth hole.