When an artist becomes obsessed with making one of their creations a life project, the results tend to be exceptional. In the golfing world it is well known that Donald Ross loved making changes to his beloved No. 2 at Pinehurst that also served as his back yard. In Ireland, that distinction belongs to Pat Ruddy, one of the country’s most beloved and respected golf artists with his creation – The European Club.
Since opening in 1987, Ruddy has made The European Club, not only his life’s work in creating an amazing links course, but also, like Ross, it has become the family home.
Since becoming a golf course architect in 1969, Ruddy is considered one of the world’s greatest links designers. He has had an impact on many of the Emerald Isle’s highest rated links including; Ballyliffin Glashedy, Old Tom Morris at Rosapenna, Portsalon, Donegal and the new 9-hole Pollan Links at Ballyliffin.
Inspired by Jimmy Demaret and Jack Burke, founding The Champions Club in Texas, Ruddy set out to find linksland to design and build his own championship links. During a helicopter ride he identified the perfect site at Brittas Bay. Located in “the garden of Ireland” only 30 minutes from the capital, it is a perfect addition to any Dublin golf itinerary.
While Ruddy’s goal was to design and build a Top 100 Course, he also wanted to ensure it had unique elements and was also enjoyable to play every day. First and foremost a private as a member’s course that allows visitor play. He succeeded on both counts and the 7th a par 4, 470-yard signature hole has additionally been recognized as one of ‘The Top 100 Holes of the World.’
At your first glance of the scorecard, you immediately realize that there are 20 holes, not the traditional 18. When walking the land, Ruddy identified two additional sites nestled among the towering dunes that were crying out to be par 3’s and not left off the routing – so he seamlessly incorporated them. The additional holes also allow Ruddy to take a hole or two out to be reworked and still offer 18 holes of championship golf.
Other distinctive features are bunkers revetted with railroad ties and there are no caddies, it is a buggy (cart) course. A very welcome respite for visitor’s not used to walking 18 holes multiple days in a row.
The European Club hosted the 2006 Irish Amateur Close Championship won by Rory McIlroy, who had another Open Champion, Shane Lowry, caddying on his bag during the final round.
McIlroy has high praise for The European saying, “This is probably the best links course I have ever played, and I include Royal St George’s, Royal Portrush and Royal County Down in that…. It is totally unbelievable.”
The Ruddy Family personally offers a very warm Irish welcome to all visitors and The European Club is a highlight on any Ireland golf trip.
Near Dublin, golf courses including Portmarnock, K Club, Druids Glen and Royal Dublin are must plays. These can be enjoyed alongside the vibrant culture of the Republic of Ireland’s iconic capital city.
6 nights accommodation and 6 rounds of golf
Prices starting from $3,700
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