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.
Well if you love your golf as much as we do and 18 holes sometimes doesn’t quite feel like enough to scratch your golfing itch, how about throwing in an extra 2 par 3s to take The European Club to a 20 hole, par 78? Your wish is Ruddy’s command!
But why 20 holes?
“As a kid I used to play with some friends of my Dad’s”, said Ruddy. “One in particular used to; I’ll avoid the four letter word but he used to annoy me somewhat by cutting the rounds short. He was a businessman and had to get back to the office. So we always used to play only 14 holes when he came and this is sort of a reaction to childhood abuse of that type.”
The extra two holes also serve to fill in the gaps between a pair of greens and the next tee which would usually require a bit of a hike. While that might make you think they could just be throwaway distractions from the main course, hole 12a as an example is actually one of the best on the course, playing to a slightly raised green perched among some of the monstrous dunes that are prominent around the middle of the course.
|Opened for play
Speaking of monstrous, The European Club can be a bit of a beast too, with Tiger Woods of all people setting the course record of 67 way back in 2002. Choose your tees wisely because, as Ruddy says: “We make no apology for the fact that the inept and thoughtless player may suffer on our links. It was not created for such players. If you choose your tees unwisely, please call it suicide rather than murder.”
Don’t bite off more than you can chew then when it comes to your choice of tees because the marram grass that lines the fairways and smothers the dunes, the sloping greens and the rather unique pot bunkers which are fortified with railway sleepers will provide more than enough of a test of your game. And that’s without evening considering the elements which, as any ardent golfer will know, can completely transform a true links course.
To sum up; this incredible course is chock full of stunning holes. Two of them (the 13th and 14th) have been voted into The World’s 500 Greatest Golf Holes, while the 7th has made its way into the The World’s 100 Greatest Golf Holes. The others, including the par 4 12th which features a green that measures a full 125 YARDS from front to back (!!!), aren’t half bad either and with spectacular views from start to finish, superb food on offer in the clubhouse, and one of the warmest welcomes you’ll receive anywhere in golf; a day at The European Club is guaranteed to be one of the most enriching golf experiences you’ll ever have.
How to get to The European Club
The European Club is situated between the towns of Wicklow and Arklow off the M11, just an hour from Dublin airport.
Address: Ardanairy, Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow, Ireland