The European Tour's Celtic Manor Wales Open is being contested this week at Celtic Manor Resort, site of this year's upcoming Ryder Cup matches.  Always one of the premier tournaments on the European Tour, this year's Wales Open has an added sense of gravity as a field full of prospective Ryder Cup players hopes to impress European Captain Colin Montgomery with strong play on the layout that we'll see in early October. Our friends from Titleist-Europe have shared the following revealing update:

The European Tour makes a journey of some significance this week as The Celtic Manor Resort plays host to the Wales Open. The resort has hosted the event since 2000 but this year’s visit to Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course carries extra significance as it is also the host venue for golf’s greatest spectacle; the 2010 Ryder Cup. The event offers some of the Ryder Cup hopefuls in the field a chance to get to know the venue and, for those not automatically selected for Monty’s team, a good performance here could see them enter Monty’s thinking for a Captain’s pick. The likes of Fisher, Hansen, Larrazabal and Bourdy will all be looking to trust their Titleist equipment and record an impressive finish.

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The venue itself is looking in excellent condition ahead of this week’s event and looks a superb layout for the Ryder Cup in early October. The Twenty Ten course is the first of its kind as it is the only course to ever be designed specifically for golf’s premier event. A number of holes from the original Wentwood Hills course have been re-designed but nine of the eighteen holes on the Twenty Ten are all new. The par 71, 7400 yard layout has been designed to offer pure golfing theatre and numerous holes offer the players a very distinct risk-reward challenge, usually involving water which is in play on ten holes. Although designed for match play, the risk-reward nature of the golf course also makes it an exciting stroke play venue. Those players on form can really take advantage and reap the rewards on offer but it only takes a few loose shots to rack up a big number. Both low scores and high scores should be expected which should make for exciting viewing.

The Titleist Tour Support Vehicle (TTSV) was back on site following a week off at last week’s Madrid Masters and a number of players were keen to get to work on their equipment set-up. Titleist Ambassador Kenneth Ferrie was a surprise visitor to the TTSV. Kenneth doesn’t tend to mess with his equipment too much but this week he was keen to look at his current driver, fairway and hybrid set-ups to ensure that all was working well. Titleist Tour Technician Phil Dimmock spent time with Kenneth using the Trackman Launch Monitor and analysis revealed that there was room for improvement in his set-up. The team assembled some new options for him to test and indications were that they might go straight in the bag for the event.

Kenneth Ferrie

Model: 909DComp Loft: 8.5° Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki 63 Stiff Length: 45” Grip: Golf Pride Multi-Compound Black/Blue .600 Round (+1/64”) Swingweight: D3

Model: 909H Lofts: 17° & 21° Shafts: Fujikura Speeder 904HB Stiff (17°) & True Temper Project X HD2 (21°) Length: 41” (17°) & 40” (19°) Grips: Golf Pride Multi-Compound Black/Blue .600 Round (+1/64”) Swingweights: D4

Another player to book themselves in with the team for some Trackman work was Titleist Ambassador Jose-Filipe Lima. The Portugese finished second on last year’s Challenge Tour Order of Merit and is working hard at his game to establish himself on the European Tour. Jose has been working with his coach in recent weeks to create more speed with the driver and he is noticeably faster than the last time he checked in with the team. With the additional speed Jose has noticed his current 909D2, 9.5°, Aldila Voodoo XVS6 X-Flex was generating more spin than before meaning that a new driver shaft was in order. Titleist Tour Technician Mattias Jelver spent time with Jose and narrowed the choice down to two options; the True Temper Project X and the Oban Revenge. After rigorous testing on the range the Oban Revenge came out on top and the statistics with this specification were certainly pretty impressive. Jose’s ball speed when hitting what he calls a “soft driver” were up around 164mph but when he gave it full throttle his speed was elevated to around 173mph. Trackman measurements showed that that the new driver gave Jose 289 yards of carry on average with a total distance of 313 yards. Not too shabby I’m sure you’d agree!!! Lima wasn’t the only player to switch to an Oban shaft this week as Titleist Ambassador Ross Fisher changed his 909F2 fairway to the Oban Devotion 8. Ross’ fairway was launching too high for his liking and the switch to the Devotion 8 has helped to get this back under control. The new fairway is in play this week at Celtic Manor.

Ross Fisher

Model: 909F2 Loft: 13.5° Shaft: Oban Devotion 8 Stiff Length: 43” Grip: Lamkin Crossline Cord (+1/32”) Swingweight: D3

Twitter

Don’t forget that you can follow the Titleist Tour Team on a daily basis through the Titleist Europe Twitter page. The Team will be ‘Tweeting’ from next week’s Estoril Open de Portugal where Titleist Ambassador Michael Hoey will be back to defend his title.

Please click here to follow the Team: http://twitter.com/TitleistEurope.