The European Golf Club

Pat Ruddy


 The links of the European Club has developed into one of Ireland’s finest links golf courses in a relatively short period of time. There is usually one reason and one reason only for this rapid progression to “must play” status and that reason is quality, a trait that is inherent at the European Club. The combination of rugged dunes, deep bunkers, sea breezes and large undulating greens calls on the golfer to display strength of character, an ability to think and shot-making skills.

The designer of the European Club attempted to modernize the traditional values of links golf and this has been achieved with magnificent results. Blind shots, deemed by many as an archaic feature of links golf, have largely been banished from the agenda at the European Club, with 14 holes offering a complete tee-to-green vista and the remaining holes providing a clearly visible landing area. Fast running fairways, greens that invite the pitch and run approach and acres of tall, waving grasses and golden flowered gorse are, of course, the very essence of links golf, and all remain in abundance at the European Club.

At first glance, the European Club presents an awesome challenge, with yawning bunkers and fairways seeming like mere ribbons through the sand hills. The truth is that the links has been designed primarily as a place for real golfers, for those who both think and play well. Weaker players are advised to play within the scope of their talents and refrain from undue acts of aggression against a golf course that takes few prisoners. In short, the handicap golfer must learn to use his handicap stroke to achieve a net par and try not to look at the hole as a potential net birdie. Discipline is rarely more rewarded than at the European Club.

Amongst the links he has designed from concept to completion are The European Club, Ballyliffin Glashedy and Rosapenna Sandy Hills.  He has impacted substantially at Portsalon (13 holes), Ballyliffin Old ( 7-holes), Rosapenna Old (12 holes) and Donegal (11 holes).