PERTHSHIRE, Scotland -- The PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles put on a good show at the 2014 Ryder Cup won by the Europeans.
It will do the same whenever you tee it up on the gently rolling Jack Nicklaus design that explores the beautiful backcountry of central Scotland. To most golfers, playing a Ryder Cup venue is bucket-list material.
The PGA Centenary probably isn't the best course at the fabled resort, but it fits in perfectly at Gleneagles as a change of pace to the beloved King's Course and Queen's Course, two historic heathland tracks.
The biggest complaint leveled against the course is its American parkland style. At 7,296 yards, it is the longest inland course in Scotland. That length makes for a big ballpark that's not an easy walk. Buggies, normally frowned upon in Scotland, are fairly common sights on the PGA Centenary.
The resort's new owners are dedicated to raising course conditions to even higher levels. Drainage improvements made during a seven-month renovation prior to the Ryder Cup will certainly help.
The most memorable holes are its par 5s. Ponds serve as obstacles on the second shots at the 618-yard ninth hole and the 543-yard 16th hole. The redesigned 18th green -- the end of a 513-yard par 5 that doglegs right -- is as severe a green complex as you'll ever play. Getting up and down from the fall-offs and collection areas are no easy task.
Meaty par 4s like the 461-yard fifth hole and 463-yard 15th hole balance nicely with getable holes such as the 350-yard 11th hole, which is guarded by a burn, and the drivable, 320-yard 14th hole. Golfers do not always score well on such a long championship layout but most will have fun trying.