I am all set for the first event of the 2016 European Senior Tour being held once again at the Celtic Manor Roman Road Course.
Some of you asked me to provide details of the weather, golf course, statistics to shed light on scoring opportunities and any other interesting information. So I have listed them below.
Weather Forecast During Playing Time:
Friday Low 14C High 20C Partly Cloudy Sky POP 0% 0mm Wind 10 – 14km/h NNE
Saturday Low 16C High 21C Overcast Sky POP 40% 2mm Wind 6 – 10km/h NNE
Sunday Low 14C High 23C Partly Cloudy Sky POP 50% 3mm Wind 10 – 14km/h NE switching to ENE
The course sits on the highest piece of property around the area and is exposed to the heavy winds. It is in good shape again this year and the key will be putting as the greens are extremely sloping and balls have been blown around with the strong winds of up to 70km/h during practice rounds.
Par is 37 – 33 = 70 and there are 3 par-5 holes on the front nine and none on the back nine.
The greens and the green surrounds are rock hard and chipping is different than in North America where the greens are much softer and the ball sticks or grabs in the soft turf when landing on the green. Here the club bounces off the turf quite easily and the balls first bounce on the green is very aggressive and virtually eliminates any backspin having a positive affect in slowing the ball down. Since this turf condition is so common in UK and Europe I have been working hard through the winter/spring on a shallower angle of attack with my chipping and pitching through minimal wrist set to maximize my bounce angle on the club.
Interestingly the Celtic Manor 2010 Course (host of the 2010 Ryder Cup Matches) is situated at the bottom of the hill and is a much softer course with more water hazards.
Last year I struggled mightily on the greens as I was 11.654 over par in putts/gained (or in my case lost) and finished the event 15 over par.
The poor putting last year is the primary reason that I changed putters to the Edel Torque Balanced putter for this year and I am looking forward to the season and improvement on the greens.
Thanks as always to everyone for your interest in my playing and for your emails, texts and calls.