First & foremost, the staff members at the pro shop (I believe they were the owner /founder Pat Ruddy & his son) were super kind & friendly. They let me use a buggy for free, gave me a free bottle of water, gave my friend a free club logo ball, and, at the turn, gave me 10 used balls free of charge when they learned that I had lost quite a number of balls in the front nine. I was recommended to this golf club by a friend, & I will recommend it to my friends also.
The European Club is located in County Wicklow, the ‘Garden of Ireland', and along with Doonbeg, it is among the best links courses to be built in recent decades. Built by the highly regarded Pat Ruddy, the European Club has been compared favourably with Kyle Phillips' phenomenal Kingsbarns creation, and spans similarly colossal sand dunes.
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From the championship tees, the course can be stretched over 7,000 yards, and given its exposure to the often brutal elements, there are times when the European Club can be merciless. Ruddy, the designer and owner of the complex, has a vivid imagination, and this is evident throughout this most incredible course.
Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous Irish Sea, the layout has become a favourite thanks to its departure from long established norms; one of the highlights has to be the 12th green, which measures some 125 yards long. Already ranked within the world's top 100 courses, the European Club is a modern classic, and is a sure highlight of a golf tour on Ireland's magical east coast.
The European Club is ranked as one of the best courses in Ireland
- Driving Range
- Pro Shop
- Putting Greens
- Practice Area
- Golf Club Hire
- Club House
- Championship Standard Course
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Having played The European Club a few years before my second visit in the summer of 2017, I had ranked it as my favourite course in the world. Since then rounds at Turnberry, Tralee in South West Ireland and Pinnacle Point in South Africa had pushed it towards the bottom half of my Top 5 (still not a bad place to be considering the wealth of course I've been lucky to play with Your Golf Travel).
However after a second taste it appears I might have been premature in doing so...
Pinnacle Point remains my favourite course in the world but another crack at The European Club reminded me just how special a course this is and Pat Ruddy's amazing 20-hole creation has surged back into the silver medal position.
The setting is drop dead gorgeous, the test of golf is presents is incredibly difficult and yet perversely enjoyable at the same time, and the welcoming atmosphere provided by other golfers knocking around the clubhouse and practice facilities (I've yet to bump into anyone else on the course...more on that later) and the Ruddy family in particular is second to none. If you're into millionaires golf this course is the place to be too because in 2 visits, 40 holes in this quite unique instance, I'm pretty sure I have yet to encounter another golfer on the course. If I have they were probably spotted from afar and quickly forgotten and I've certainly never felt under pressure to "get on with it" which just adds to the enjoyment.
The 2 extra holes on the course, 7a and 12a, I think were designed to basically plug holes where there would've been long walks between greens and tees, but they're decent holes in their own rights, with 12a ranking among my favourite on the course. Other unique features on the course include a 125 yard deep green at the par 4 12th which, needless to say, can drastically change the dynamic of the hole subject to where the pin has been placed!
The European Club is also home to a handful of holes that are ranked among the very best in the world, with the par 4 7th featuring inside the Top 100. This hole's a brute, so don't expect to enjoy it too much, but much like the rest of the course, if you manage your expectations and just try to soak up your surroundings, you'll be bowled over by the place.
My Caddy Tip - "Forget your score. Have fun and take plenty of pictures!"
Stableford Score - 28 points
Handicap - 7 (promise)
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European Club Frequently Asked Questions
Q - Is there a range on site?
A - Yes
Q - Are there buggies available to hire?
A - Yes
Q - How much is the fee for the caddies?
A - No caddies available
Q - Are there any weekend golfing restrictions?
A - 8 to 10am on a Sunday is members only
Q - Is there a charge for car parking on site?
A - There is complimentary car parking