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The Elegant European Club

The Elegant European Club

The European Club in Ireland is one of the last great links courses to be built in the 20th century. The course has been labelled a modern masterpiece. Situated roughly an hour south from Dublin, it offers golfers a unique links experience right on the shores of Brittas Bay. Does the European Club live up to the grandeur of its name?  Most visitors would say, “Yes.”  Here is why…



The European Club was founded by Pat Ruddy after he’d flown all over Ireland’s coastline to find that perfect location for links golf. He found it at Brittas Bay – a site with over 200 acres of untouched sand dunes idling by the coast.

Pat Ruddy is the owner, architect and operator of The European Club. He is a self-made man and self-taught golf course architect. He started his career as a golf-writer and evolved into an architect. Not bad for a man who, in 1987, built a course that now ranks in the World’s Top 100 Courses in the World and has claimed the 4th best course in Ireland. It has not only hosted three Irish PGA Championships from 2007 to 2009 but also the Irish Amateur Titles, which a young Rory McIlroy won back in 2006.

The European Club is Ruddy’s masterpiece. It is a layout that he kept on tweaking and improving over the years in a constant quest for course perfection. That is why the European Club earns its spot as one of the best links in the world.


“This is probably the best links course I have ever played. It is totally unbelievable.” – Rory McIlroy



Links golf is not meant to be easy, and Ruddy has made sure that players are in for a challenging game. The course is a monster spanning 6,700m and consists of large dunes with mighty definition and the Irish sea in the backdrop.

To appreciate what the European Club is all about, players should do their best to avoid looking too much at the views and focus on the design.  It’s not showy, but stately.

Pat Ruddy messes with the golfers’ perception by concealing segments of the fairway with the natural topography and foliage of the land. The 18 holes will be a thrilling test for every golfer and those who play low trajectory shots will more likely enjoy the fast running fairways.

Moreover, Ruddy has instilled his sense of humour in the scorecard to add entertainment to your round of golf. For instance, on the 12th hole, Ruddy will have you play a 114-metre par 4 making a three-putt an achievement in itself; There is also an opportunity for you to put on the scorecard what you think your score should have been.


“The European Club is a great links that you have to think your way around.” – Padraig Harrington




The course’s signature 7th hole is ranked in the world’s best 100 holes by Golf Magazine. Ruddy’s infamous optical illusions are ever-present here. He has cleverly hidden parts of the fairway behind a bed of reeds, whilst also managing to make everything look further away than it is. Add the howling wind from the sea and it becomes one of the hardest holes to play.



The links record at the European Club is held by Tiger Woods who hit 67 here… only four under par.


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