2019 Solheim Cup - Gleneagles' PGA Centenary Course

Paul Casey's guide to the course

Europe will attempt to regain the Solheim Cup when they take on the United States in the biennial contest from September 13-15.

2019 Solheim Cup - Course guide - Paul Casey gives his hole-by-hole guide to the course at the Gleneagles resort, where he won two European Tour events
Paul Casey. Credit: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

Here, four-time Ryder Cup team member Paul Casey gives the PA news agency his hole-by-hole guide to the PGA Centenary Course at the Gleneagles resort in Scotland, a venue where he won two European Tour events.

1st (Bracken Brae), 394 yards, par 4: The ideal tee shot is down the left-hand side of the fairway to set up an approach to a raised green. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few birdies here especially as the tee shot is slightly downhill. The bunker in front of the green is the place to avoid.

2nd (Wester Greenwells), 472 yards, par 5: The wind is usually off the right and it requires a well-struck tee shot to find the fairway and reach the green in two. When the pin is on the front the water is not much of an issue but the further back the pin is the narrower it gets and the more precise you have to be.

3rd (Schiehallion), 369, par 4: The wind is often howling into your face from the left and most players try to avoid the bunkers on the right-hand side. Therefore a lot of players miss the fairway left which is treacherous, you see a lot of lost balls. The green is also difficult to find and par will be a good score.

4th (Gowden Beastie), 187 yards, par 3: Anything on the putting surface is a very good shot. Long is a better place to be than short, the front left bunker is quite imposing when you stand on the tee and swallows up a lot of balls. You are unlikely to lose the hole with a three.

5th (Crookit Cratur), 386 yards, par 4: A very difficult tee shot visually because you don’t see how much room you have on the right and favour the left, but you can then get blocked out by the trees. You want to hug the left-hand side if possible to avoid playing over the marsh down the right in front of the green.

6th (Mickle Skelp), 160 yards, par 3: A great little par three down the hill which does not play too long. Anything missing the narrow green to the right leaves a fast chip down the green. Players will be looking to make a birdie because a par might not be good enough.

7th (Larch Gait), 406 yards, par 4: The no-no here is the right-hand fairway bunker, but going with three wood to play short of it leaves a long second shot so I think most players will hit driver because the fairway is wide enough. Balls which just miss the green right should kick down off the bank, but left is a no-go area.

8th (Sidlin’ Brows), 392 yards, par 4: With a favourable wind the longer players will take on the bunkers which creep in from the left-hand side. If you don’t play it that way it can give you fits. Do you take a three wood and play right of the bunkers or a long iron to leave a longer approach? Any indecision will be costly.

2019 Solheim Cup - Course guide - Paul Casey gives his hole-by-hole guide to the course at the Gleneagles resort, where he won two European Tour events
The 5th hole of the PGA Centenary Course, Gleneagles. Credit: Kenny Smith/PA Wire.

9th (Crook o’ Moss), 535 yards, par 5: The bunkers to the left of the fairway are incredibly deep and steep and will leave just a wedge out and an awfully long third shot. If you find the fairway I think you have to take on the green. You have all of Scotland to the left where you can bail out and spectators will have a great vantage point on the banks.

10th (Sleekit Howe), 160 yards, par 3: This is not a long hole but it can give you fits because the ball is hanging in the air for such a long time from the elevated tee. Neither bunker is a great place to be and club selection will be vital.

11th (Laich Burn), 326 yards, par 4: The tendency is to aim towards the green in the distance, but if you do that you can miss the fairway right. The green is incredibly narrow and the big disaster area is spinning it back down the hill and into the burn.

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12th (Carn Mairg), 419 yards, par 4: Again, the key is to avoid the fairway bunkers, which is a big thing around this golf course. The three bunkers down the right are the ones to avoid and playing short of them leaves a long second shot. Bite off a lot with the tee shot and succeed and a birdie could be on the cards.

13th (Wimplin’ Wyne) 440 yards, par 4: Playing short of the bunker in the fairway is not an option, it leaves you too far to go with your approach into a difficult green complex guarded by a nasty pot bunker on the front left. You have to take on the fairway bunker and the best drivers of the ball will be rewarded.

14th (Nebit Knowe) 232 yards, par 4: I’m a big fan of going for driveable par fours and hopefully it is set up so you can go for it. If not, it’s a short iron off the tee and either way there will be a lot of birdies. A good hole to see the strategy, especially in fourballs. Does the first player knock it in the fairway and the second one go for it?

15th (Ochil Sicht) 404 yards, par 4: A well-struck tee shot with a touch of draw will bound down the hill but still leave a long shot to a long and narrow green, and the left-hand side falls away steeply to deep rough. In a match-play situation, being on the green in two first will be a big advantage.

16th (Lochan Loup) 490 yards, par 5: A good tee shot down the left-hand side is required to avoid the bunkers and set up a second shot to the green. The green has several ridges in it, making it difficult to get close. A great hole where matches can be won or turn around quickly.

17th (Ca’ Canny) 179 yards, par 3: The bunkers are deep but you have to take dead aim at this flag as it is not difficult to gauge the distance with a drop of only a few yards down the hill. It will be interesting to see how pressure plays a part on what is normally a straightforward hole.

18th (Dun Roamin’) 483 yards, par 5: A lot of holes are about getting the tee shot away or all about the approach, but here there is no let-up from start to finish. You will have to hit a good drive to get home in two and anything leaked right forces a lay-up, but your problems don’t stop there. The green is heavily contoured and missing it leaves a difficult pitch, no matter where the pin is located.

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