The PGA Centenary
The PGA Centenary Course has grown in reputation as a modern classic since its official opening in 1993 – its refined and defined fairways and greens having gained global attention when it was The Host Venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup.
The par-72 layout, which was described by designer, Jack Nicklaus, as ‘the finest parcel of land in the world I’ve ever been given to work with’, fittingly begins by playing southeast towards the famed Glen of Eagles. Initially known as The Monarch’s, before its renaming in 2001 to commemorate The PGA’s Centenary year, the course has evolved significantly over the years and provides a variety of challenges from five sets of tees, measuring 7,296 yards at its longest.
The PGA Centenary will achieve further prominence as host venue for the inaugural European Golf Team Championships in 2018, as well as The Solheim Cup in 2019, which will ensure it becomes the first European course to stage both The Ryder and Solheim Cups.
Even for a champion and acclaimed golf architect like Nicklaus, The PGA Centenary Course was a challenge. It had to be a truly great golf course, set as it is in the heart of Scotland, the country that gave the world golf. Thankfully Nicklaus described the course as “the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with”.
It had to be unique in its challenge, a golf course in the modern design ethos that at its fullest stretch tests the greatest players, while, in the immortal phrase of Bobby Jones, “offering problems a man may attempt according to his ability… never hopeless for the lesser player nor failing to concern and interest the expert”.
The tees are graded at each hole in five stages, including a challenging 6,815 yards from the white markers down to 5,322 from the red. Fittingly, The PGA Centenary Course begins by playing southeast towards the glen, sweeping up the Ochil Hills to the summit of the pass below Ben Shee which joins it to Glendevon.
A feature of The PGA Centenary Course is the feast of views of the spectacular countryside in which Gleneagles is set. Putting on the two-tier second green, you are distracted by the lush panorama of the rich Perthshire straths. As you move westwards over the next few holes, the rugged Grampians come into view on the right, then distantly purple ahead, Ben Vorlich and the mountains above the Trossachs.