The European Club

Course Facts:
Address Brittas Bay Secretary/Manager: Sidon Ruddy
Co. Wicklow Captain: Eddie Fallon
  Lady Captain: None
Telephone: 0404-47415 President: Pat Ruddy
Public No: 0404-47415 Vice-Captain: None
Fax: 0404-47449    
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Club Pro: None-Shop
Founded: 1987 Designed by: Pat Ruddy
Not open for membership. Societies are welcome and group rates are available.
Membership: 94 Course opening hours: Daylight hours
Green Fees Midweek: €100/180 Clubhouse opening hours: 8.00am to dusk
Green Fees Weekends & B.H.: €100/180 Mobile phones: Not on course or in clubhouse
Green Fees With a Member: €N/A Dress Code: Neat casual, no denim
Green Fees For Opens: €60 Catering: Full catering facilities (wine bar)
Practice Area: Yes Days to Avoid: None
Club Hire: Yes Green Fees and Societies Welcome: Midweek & weekends
Buggy Hire: Yes Pre-booking for open tournaments: 14 Days in advance
Soft spikes: No    


Course Description
Course Description:

"I would love to see the British Open played here. This is the first links I have seen with ten par-5s. It would be the greatest test of them all if the rough was let come-in a little for a championship," So said Johnny Miller, British and US-Open champion.There are many great holes on the links of The European Club which for example, eleven of the beautiful par-4s measuring well in excess 0f 400-yd's each. This is modern golf of magnificent, fearsome proportions.

The great Links of The European Club at Brittas Bay has been recognized worldwide by the authors of numerous books of fine golf courses.

To celebrate the new millennium, an alliance of eleven major golf magazines worldwide had their readers nominate the Best Golf Holes in the World at the Year 2000 and The European Club featured bly with the 470-yard seventh being voted one of the 100 Best Holes in the World and par-5 thirteenth and par-3 fourteenth being voted among the 500 Best in the World.

Other rankings bestowed on the links to date are 24th Greatest Golf Course in the World. 5th Greatest Golf in Ireland and Would be ranked in America’s 100 Greatest Courses if it were located in America.

The European Club is the venue of the East of Ireland Alliance every Wednesday from October to March and has an Open Fourball on Mondays and Tuesdays from November to March except Christmas.

These are the words of course owner and designer Pat Ruddy

"The links of The European Club has been designed to perpetuate and modernise the traditional values of links golf. 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.

Fast-running fairways, greens that invite the pitch-and-run approach and acres of tall, waving marram grass and golden-flowered gorse are the very essence of golf as it was at the beginning and was always meant to be. All modern golf is merely a copy of the original with mounding, bunkering and the other main features of golf's landscape borrowed and adapted from dunesland golf.

Archaic features such as blind shots have been banished largely from the agenda at The European Club with fourteen holes offering a complete tee-to-green vista; and the landing area for the drive is clearly visible on the others.

At first glance, the links presents an awesome challenge with fairways seeming to be only ribbons through the sand hills; and what is one to do about those yawning bunkers?

But, so much is calculated deception aimed at inducing "white knuckles" on the club and in the mind as the golfer tightens-up and strives to guide the shot rather than hit out!

Care has been taken to conceal portions of fairways behind hillocks, in valleys and behind reeds (to induce panic in those who are weak of heart); to throw off depth perception by the use of swales (hiding a club length or more on many shots to the green); to exaggerate length by the use of long corridors through tall dunes (like looking through the wrong end of a telescope ... making relatively short shots into challenges of seeming gigantic proportions); and to make some greens look extremely small by the simple device of making them wider, thus distorting the visual proportions, or placing them in front of high banks to give a misread of what the photographer would know as the "depth of field."

The seventh hole, a par-4 of 470-yards, illustrates the design concept best. A small river hugs the fairway, and the green, all the way on the right. One doesn't want to have anything to do with that. 
Meanwhile, on the left is jungle, and protruding into the fairway from the left is a reed-filled marsh, which seems to be only 190-yards off the tee but is, in fact. 300-yards away (from the blue markers) and allows a full-blooded drive to be played by all but the best hitters. Many are fooled into going with an iron for safety: and into hitting down the left for the same reason.

Once on the fairway, the reeds dominate life: and the river on the right is still gnawing at the nerve-ends. The golfer who has played left off the tee is now faced with a second shot angled dangerously across the green towards the river! And it looks as though those reeds run all the way to the green and that a gigantic hit is required to carry them. In fact, the reeds run only from yard 300 to yard 405 and most golfers should have little bother in having their ball air-borne for those vital 85-yards on either their second or third shots.... and there is a bail-out area measuring 50-yards long by 100-yards wide between the reeds and the green. But only portion of this bail-out zone is visible to the golfer and this helps to foster self-doubt as does the thought that a ball kept too far left will have to be played back towards the green at an angle that has the river behind the pin!

Another very important underlying principle of the design, as with all major courses, is that the handicap golfer is meant to use a handicap stroke to achieve a nett par. But the silly and erroneous notion has got about that a handicap stroke is supposed to allow the golfer to achieve a net-birdie and scores from many clubs testify to the widespread official capitulation to this thinking.

The links of The European Club has been designed primarily as a golf place for real golfers.... those who play and think well. Less powerful or gifted players will find a way to play the links satisfactorily if they play within the scope of their talents and refrain from undue acts of aggression against a links which takes no prisoners from amongst the foolish.

Watching play on the tenth hole, a par-4 of 417-yards, will produce examples of this ill-judged modern aggression. Golfer after golfer will manage to miss the fairway from the tee despite the fact that the target is almost 100 yards wide. Then they will seek to drive a fairway wood through a 30-yard gap between two towering dunes situated between yards 300 and 350.

The intelligent play for most would be to lay-up short of the gap and then go for the green with the third shot. Use that handicap stroke for par and think birdie only when the birdie looks you in eye!

The links is greatly enhanced by the beach running right alongside the fairways on holes twelve and thirteen, and by the fact that the cliffs of Mizen Head are a constant threat on hole fifteen. Few other major golf venues bring the seashore so bly into play and allow the golfer to admire sweeping sea views from seventeen holes. This is true seaside golf on crisp seaside turf. Of course, such views imply a supply of high vantage points. Indeed, this is a raised links and the ever-present winds play a big part in the golf. And it is long; longer even than the great Ballybunion and Royal Portrush! So, if your score is higher than usual it is because you are in w unusually challenging place and it does not mean that you have lost form. Stay calm and think it out!

In keeping with links traditions. The European Club offers an irregular pattern of pars. There are just two par-5s, the third and the thirteenth, and three par-3s. The topography of linksland leads to this situation. It is, for example, very difficult to get a stretch of links country that will yield a par-5 without travelling over hill and dale. This is why The European Club has just two par-5s in common with such great British Open venues as Royal St. George's, Royal Birkdale, Turnberry and even the Old Course at St. Andrews itself. (The latter is unusual also, if course, in that it has only two par-3s).

The European Club is the twenty-second British & Irish links to have just two par-5s and this, in turn, leads to a distribution of surplus yards into a succession of testing par 4's… the most difficult holes even for the champion player!

The heart of the round at The European Club links is to be found in holes seven through thirteen… six very substantial par 4's followed by a bone-crunching par-5 of 596-yards up along it's very edge of the beach. All of those par-4's are over 400-yards long. Anyone covering this unrelenting stretch in par is truly a golfer of merit. 
Merits go to all who play here. For this is a links designed to be great and it is marvellous to be one of the first of millions of golfers to play it and to be in a position to come back year-after-year and watch it grow in stature and beauty.

Growth is, of course, one of the key words in the life of any golf course. It has taken 400-years-plus for the great Old Course at St. Andrews to arrive at what it is today both in terms of links and traditions. So, it is inevitable that there will be changes and improvements to the links at The European Club for many years to come until it evolves into one of the world's finest tests of golf.

Evolution is a key word in the whole dialogue on golf links design and development. The game of golf has evolved hugely in the past century and, as the old saying goes, it is likely that we "ain't seen nothing yet". The game of golf goes on changing and, in some ways, improving. 
Our links is set to continue changing for years to come until greatness is got within the gunner's sights.

In 1999:

•  We opened two extra holes - par 3's known as 7a and 12a - giving us a 20-hole round simply because we like the game enough to play a little extra;

•  We made the green on the twelfth 127 yards long just to see the "great three-putt” restored to the game and

•  We lifted the fifteenth green out onto the edge of the cliff to add some extra bite to the challenge.

This process of improvement continues and will be speeded-up by the fact that others have shown the way forward - the pioneers had to grow with golf and define the game. We thank them as we strive to join them. "

Voted the No. 5-ranked golf course in Ireland, by “Golf Digest Ireland” in 2008.

The European Club was voted No. 4 Links/Shoreline Course in Ireland by "Backspin" Irelands leading Golf magazine in 2008, the panel comprised of a selection of 52 Professional and amateur golfers throughout Ireland.

Open & Major Fixtures 2011
See Event Calendar here.

Club History
Club History

Founded in 1987 by golf architect and golf writer Pat Ruddy, who found the site for the last great links of the 20th century by surveying the Irish coastline by helicopter, Ruddy’s simple objective is to continue to refine his great links until it is as good as possible, even though some would argue it is already near perfect.

Members Achievements

Harry McKinney won the Munster and Connacht Seniors Open and played for Ireland in the Senior Internationals and was on the winning Irish team in the European Seniors.

Alison Coffey won the Lancôme Irish Ladies Champ. at the European Club and was made an Hon. Life Member of the club.

Joe Kelly teamed up with Molly Kelly of Elm Green in the qualifiers of the Spar-Irish Independent National Mixed Pairs challenge at City West in June 2001. Molly playing off 28 and Joe playing off 18 returned a score of 54 points to book their place in the National Final at Adare Manor Golf & Country Club in August.

When asked what is the toughest test of golf in Ireland, I always reply "The European, off the back stakes, is a Tiger". However, on a Calor Society outing, in August, 1999, a very good friend of mine, Bill Gorman, was bitten hard by the cub (off the front stakes) when playing off 16, he went around the front 9, having 4-Stableford Points, two Mars bars, two bottles of orange, and added some new words to the English language. It was back to the drawing board for Bill, that was after Jack Whites.

Card of the Course
Card of the Course (yards)
Hole No Blue White Yellow Par Index Red Par Index
1 424 363 354 4 8 301 4 8
2 160 148 135 3 18 120 3 18
3 499 481 452 5 16 424 5 16
4 470 426 399 4 3 349 4 3
5 409 398 369 4 5 299 4 5
6 210 177 149 3 14 136 3 14
7 470 449 374 4 1 339 4 1
7a 166 120 114 3 20 103 3 20
8 415 402 377 4 10 361 4 10
9 427 402 386 4 12 344 4 12
Out 3,484 3,246 2,995 35   2,673 35  
Out 10 3,650 3,366 3,109 38   2,776 38  
10 466 397 354 4 2 344 4 2
11 416 379 360 4 9 292 4 9
12 459 438 413 4 6 348 4 6
12a 205 160 160 3 19 116 3 19
13 596 503 486 5 15 413 5 15
14 195 165 130 3 17 122 3 17
15 415 379 346 4 13 340 4 13
16 415 399 368 4 11 348 4 11
17 432 389 355 4 4 339 4 4
18 477 425 400 4 7 350 4 7
In 3,871 3,474 3,212 36   2,896 36  
Total 7,355 6,720 6,207 71   5,596 71  
In 20 4,076 3,634 3,372 39   3,012 39  
Total 20 7,726 7,000 5,788 77   5,788 77  
SSS 73 72 69     72    

Roll of Honour
James O'Toole 1992 Men's Captain
Carole Haugh 2000 Ladies Captain
Carole Haugh 2001 Ladies Captain
Carole Haugh 2002 Ladies Captain
Carole Haugh 2003 Ladies Captain
Carol Haugh 2004 Ladies Captain
Carol Haugh 2005 Ladies Captain
Carol Haugh 2006 Ladies Captain
Carol Haugh 2007 Ladies Captain
James O'Toole 1993 Men's Captain
James O'Toole 1994 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 1995 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 1996 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 1997 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 1998 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 1999 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 2000 Men's Captain
Fintan Russell 2001 Men's Captain
Finton Russell 2002 Men's Captain
Eddie Fallon 2003 Men's Captain
Eddie Fallon 2004 Men's Captain
Eddie Fallon 2005 Men's Captain
Eddie Fallon 2006 Men's Captain
Edward Fallon 2007 Men's Captain
Pat Ruddy 1992 President
Pat Ruddy 1993 President
Pat Ruddy 1994 President
Pat Ruddy 1995 President
Pat Ruddy 1996 President
Pat Ruddy 1997 President
Pat Ruddy 1998 President
Pat Ruddy 1999 President
Pat Ruddy 2000 President
Pat Ruddy 2001 President
Pat Ruddy 2002 President
Pat Ruddy 2003 President
Pat Ruddy 2004 President
Pat Ruddy 2005 President
Pat Ruddy 2006 President
Pat Ruddy 2007 President
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