Druids Glen Golf Course Review

Architect Pat Ruddy may be more renowned for his spectacular Irish links, but Druids Glen is proof that he knows what he’s doing inland too

Water comes into play often as on the pretty 8th

Architect Pat Ruddy may be more renowned for his spectacular Irish links, but Druids Glen is proof that he knows what he’s doing inland too

Druids Glen Golf Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 82

Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 77 2017/18 - 73 2015/16 - 76 2013/14 - 71 2011/12 - 68 2009/10 - 65

Summer Green Fees

Round: €90wd, €120we

Visitor Times: Members only on Saturday and Sunday mornings until 12:30. Otherwise, any time

Medal Tee: Par 71 – 6,560 Yards

Website: www.druidsglenresort.com

Changes since previous ranking

No significant changes advised.

Druids Glen Golf Course Review

Journalist-turned-golf course designer, Pat Ruddy, may have carved out more of a name for himself in his latter career on some of Ireland’s spectacular modern links, like his own European Club.

Druids Glen Golf Course

Looking down on the parkland majesty of Druids Glen

But the majestic County Wicklow course he created with Tom Craddock at Druids Glen is one of the country’s very finest parkland courses, blessed with both challenging holes and great visual beauty.

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

A short distance from the Wicklow coast and now into its second quarter of a century, Druids Glen is a lush golfing oasis, complete with majestic tree-lined fairways, thought-provoking water features and considerably more than a splash of colour at the right time of year, making it one of the best golf courses in Ireland.

Water comes into play often as on the pretty 8th

Four Irish Opens have been played here since 1995, with the Seve Trophy also visiting in 2002. It is a layout ingeniously designed to test every facet of your game.

Consecutive holes dogleg the opposite way twice over the front nine, thus giving neither fader nor drawer a distinct advantage, with water potentially coming into play on eight of the closing 11 holes, sometimes quite dramatically.

Memorable par 3s

The 8th and 12th - with its famous floral Celtic cross - are both mid-length par-3s where water will be very much on your mind on the tee. Then there’s the mighty par-4 13th, one of the very toughest two-shotters mere mortals will ever face.

The downhill 12th is another stirring par 3

Teeing off from way up high near the hotel, you drive down to a fairway set between a stream on the right and trees on the left. Even if you find it, you’ll still face a daunting long approach over water to a narrow green. Pars are like gold-dust here!

Just for good measure, there’s then a Sawgrass-style island-green 17th, which is a little longer than its Floridian counterpart but thankfully with a little more margin for error.

There's water to think about on the testing 18th

There’s more water to contend with on a glorious 18th that weaves its way up towards the clubhouse with a final approach over gently cascading waterfalls.

Assessor Feedback

There was a marked improvement in the conditioning, and I am still seduced by the fantastic array of holes in a beautiful setting.

I seem to be favouring links golf these last few years, but a good parkland is always a lovely place to be on a still sunny day.

A lovely parkland course where your good walk may be spoiled by your golf!

GM Verdict

Pat Ruddy may be more renowned for his spectacular Irish links, but Druids Glen is proof that he knows what he’s doing inland too. 

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf