Looking for greener golf pastures? This sprawling resort in Wales delivers.

It may be surprising, but it was less than a decade before the first golf course in hawai’i was constructed at moanalua, in 1898, that golf’s popularity had begun to take shape in Wales, just south of the game’s Scottish birthplace. With more than 50 courses throughout our state, golfers in Hawai’i understand quickly how lucky we have it. Yet, even with our year-round courses coupled with spectacular ocean and valley views, what can heighten a golfer’s appreciation of the game is experiencing the culture and traditions in other golf havens throughout the world.

A true golfing destination, Wales has some 200 courses-all touched by rougher climate, atmosphere and natural setting that has made the game historic. In south east Wales, roughly 150 miles west of London in Usk Valley, is Celtic Manor Resort. On 2,000 acres of pristine, panoramic parkland, Celtic Manor-home of the 2010 Ryder Cup-rises from the pastures.

A fairly new resort, development of Celtic Manor began in the late ’70s shortly after Celtic Inn Ltd.’s chairman Sir Terry Matthews had a visionary idea to transform what was once a maternity hospital into a plush, luxurious resort destination. Within years of initial completion, Celtic Manor was an instant success, winning the Egon Ronay award for best hotel in Wales from 1983 to 1987. Shortly after, Matthews was ready to expand further, utilizing the three-mile grounds to broaden Celtic Manor’s welcome to a larger reach of guests, including the wide golf community. With a wealth of archeological features, forest and wildlife on site, golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. was meticulous about preserving the natural surroundings. To accentuate the appeal of each golf course, Jones Sr. worked around and with the natural landscape as he designed.

Celtic Manor now hosts three separate and unique courses. The Roman Road

CLUBHOPPING IN WALES

On the southern coast of Wales, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club has been rated year in and year out a top-five course in Wales. With sea views from the bluffs above, the Royal Porthcawl course has an abundance of fun but challenging par-3 holes. A little hint before setting out- watch the winds. www.royalporthcawl.com

Located in idyllic Snowdonia National Park in west Wales, Aberdovey Golf Club has been noted as one of Wales’ original golf courses. Just outside a small fishing village, Aberdovey Golf Club is the pinnacle of old-fashioned golf. With high beach dunes jutting against the course, the cool winds off the sea present an arcane type of atmosphere. www.aberdoveygolf.co.uk

A true links golf course with no trees on course, Pennard Golf Club is located just outside the coastal city of Swansea. Tumbling fairways and rolling hills combined with the windy coastal conditions makes Pennard a firmer and faster course. For entertainment on the side, on-course castle ruins and roaming cattle and horses from neighboring farms can always grab your attention. www.pennardgolfclub.com

Course is a picture-perfect, par-70 inland course overlooking the Severn Estuary. Named after a variety of Roman-inspired roads that cross within the course it features long open fairways, but also some challenging twists and turns around lakes, streams and tree lines.

Named after legendary golfer Colin Montgomerie, The Montgomerie Course mirrors many aspects of traditional Scottish links, emphasizing deep, pot bunkers. With sweeping views, tee shots on the par-69 course are an experience to behold, even if your shots don’t go exactly where you envisioned.

The newest of the Celtic Manor courses and built specifically for the 2010 Ryder Cup, The Twenty Ten Course measures an expansive 7,493 yards. A par-71 course, The Twenty Ten is an absolute challenge to say the least. A high-risk, high-reward type of course, there are water hazards on half of its holes and a lakeside challenge on many holes in the mid-sections.

Known as a golfing resort, Celtic Manor is much more, so if you decide to travel with those who may not be as much of a golf fanatic as you or a fan of golf whatsoever there is still plenty to enjoy. The resort as a whole is nothing short of outstanding and lavish. Throughout the spacious accommodation, dining and amenity regions, traditional Welsh architecture and decorative themes are prevalent.

If you’re in need of either unwinding or recharging, The Forum Spa and The Ocius Treatment Rooms are both state-of-the-art spa options. In the The Forum Health Club, along with pristine gym equipment and facilities, you’ll find a striking domed-roof swimming pool with a relaxing cool blue lighting atmosphere. Six restaurants are located at Celtic Manor ranging from fine dining at Terry M or Le Bistro, or you may sit and enjoy authentic country-fare at Newbridge on Usk and Rafters restaurants.

With country garden landscape surrounding the entire resort, Celtic Manor offers a step into old Europe that is both authentic and refined.

www.celtic-manor.com