This modern-day links offers a superb golfing experience that mixes fun and challenge with more than a hint of quirkiness in places

The European Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 – 19

Previous Rankings
2019/20 – 18
2017/18 – 19
2015/16 – 20
2013/14 – 17
2011/12 – 14
2009/10 – 15

Summer Green Fees

Round: €230

Visitor Times: Any day but not before 10am on Sundays

Medal Tee: Par 71 – 6,720 Yards

Website: www.theeuropeanclub.com

Changes since previous ranking

A new back tee on the 9th has extended the hole from 429 yards to 465 yards for championship play. This has also allowed the former yellow tee on the 9th to become a new championship tee on the 11th, extending that hole by 25 yards to 413 yards.

The European Club Course Review

Back in the 1980s, Irish golf writer and golf course architect, Pat Ruddy was determined to have a golf course of his own.

The European Club

The opening holes at Pat Ruddy’s European Club (Photo: Getty Images)

Perhaps fearing that the scope to develop classic linksland into little pieces of golfing heaven would only diminish over time, he set out on a helicopter reconnaissance mission in 1987 to find the perfect spot.

Related: Top 100 golf courses UK and Ireland

The fruits of that mission turned out to be Brittas Bay in County Wicklow, and six years later, dream became reality when his European Club opened for play there.

This is a course where glorious sea views and distinctive sleepered bunkers abound, and where the emphasis is very much on fun, despite the course being more than capable of testing the very best, as it did when hosting the Irish PGA Championship for three years from 2007. Padraig Harrington won them all!

The European Club

Sea views abound at The European Club (Photo: Getty Images)

The extra holes

On the topic of fun, the widening of the fairways in recent years has enhanced that element for many, and there are also a few quirky touches that speak to the creator’s character and make things just a little bit different here.

For a start, there are two cracking extra par 3s at 7a and 12a which you are more than welcome to play most days. Then there’s the tongue-in-cheek 127-yard-long 12th green that sends the potential for misclubbing into a whole new dimension.

The European Club

The 8th holes weaves through the dunes (Photo: Getty Images)

The long and testing 7th, flanked by reeds and imposing dunes, has achieved worldwide renown and takes you down to a run of five memorable holes set along or close to the beach, among them the head-turning par-3 14th, with its well-bunkered plateau green nestling in the dunes.

The European Club

The sun hits the amphitheatre green on the 17th (Photo: Getty Images)

Ruddy’s dream was to build a glorious links playground of his own, and golfers everywhere should be eternally grateful that he took to the skies in 1987 to fulfil that dream.

Assessor Feedback

This is a bucket list course for the links purist. Pat Ruddy is an architectural historian.

Pat Ruddy has created a masterpiece here, a truly unique and brilliant course.

Some of the slightly eccentric design aspects reflect Pat Ruddy’s character and sense of humour. They may not be to everyone’s liking but are good fun and a good test of golf.

GM Verdict

This modern-day links offers a superb golfing experience that mixes fun and challenge with more than a hint of quirkiness in places.