Druids Glen is the kaleidoscope of golf courses, for there is more colour here than at any other course in Ireland. With its brilliant flora and the card-wrecking stretch of holes from the 12th to the 14th, called “Ireland’s Amen Corner”, it is no surprise that Druids Glen is genuinely regarded as the Augusta National of Ireland.
Located in the heart of County Wicklow, to the south of Dublin, in a stunning, rolling, manicured landscape. Druids Glen feels more like a classy American Country Club than an Irish Golf Club. The course opened for play in 1995, designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock, and they immediately impressed the European Tour. The PGA selected the course to host the 1996 Irish Open and it remained at Druids Glen for the next three years. It’s a course that Colin Montgomerie remembers fondly because he won the Irish Open here in 1996 and 1997, in the middle of Monty’s domination of the European Order of Merit.
Druids Glen is a unique golfing experience, derived from Ruddy and Craddock’s inspired design. The ambience is distinguished and distinctly Irish, including an ancient druids’ altar located behind the 12th green. The views are pretty pleasing too and the challenge is not insignificant, but if you can keep on the immaculate and generous fairways, scoring well will become a real possibility. This is target golf country, from the perfect fairway lie to a huge soft green where putting on the immaculate surface is an absolute joy. But don’t be fooled by this, there are many varied challenges at Druids Glen, not least the threatening water, which seems to be everywhere. If you’re not on top of your game, it can be a brutal course.
After a strong start and a tough Amen Corner after the turn, Druids Glen closes in a blaze of glory. The 17th will put fear into all but the most confident golfer. It’s a 203-yard par three to an island green – let’s hope it’s not too windy. The closing hole measures 450 yards and there’s water all around the approach to the green.
There is no doubt that Druids Glen will remain etched in the memory for a long time. Make sure that you take enough golf balls with you.
Very good parkland course with a good variety of holes. Standout holes are the 2 strong par 4s on the front 9, nos 4 and 6. Hole 13 should be on a worlds best 100 hole list. It is a par 4 of 461 from the whites playing downhill to a fairway that moves from left to right. You can hit over the dogleg but the fairway is unsighted on that line and a stream hat runs almost from the tee to the end of the fairway some 120 yards short of the green is in play on the right of the fairway. The vistas are stunning from the tee with colour being added by flowering bushes going down from the tee and lining the fairway on the left. Depending on how far you have hit your drive, a second shot to the green is in range or a lay up required - either way, a carry of 80 yards over water is needed. A mention of the 4 par 3s, which are probably the most scenic set I have played on an inland course - 2 are flat and 2 are played downhill (uphill par 3s where the green is not in view is not a design feature I support),. 3 of them feature water to some extent ranging from overwhelming (the 17th has water on 3 sides), to moderate (the 12th which cleverly uses a stream at the front and right of the green). My only negative comment is that after playing K Club yesterday which had all its par 3s dominated by water, another 3 today suggests a philosophy that in order to be "good", a par 3 requires a carry over water. I really enjoyed Druids Glen.
I played Druid's Glen about 5 years ago in the Cyder Cup in tough, wet and windy conditions. In my opinion, Druid's Glen is a difficult course and those conditions made things even trickier. Therefore my abiding memory is that whilst it was a very nice course, it was a hard track to play.
One of the par 3s we played, we had to hit a 3 wood against the wind to carry the water and the green was largely surrounded by a bunker that wrapped itself around. Only one person made it over the water and they made it into the bunker! I'm a 13 handicapper and hit the ball quite well, so that puts it into perspective the type of conditions we played the round in. There was another hole which had an elevated tee looking down on a massive 90 degree dog leg right, but you'd have to play an iron off the tee so you didn't go too far into the bushes beyond the fairway. If you managed to find the fairway, you then had a long iron into a thinly shaped green which lay over a little brook so it was fraught with danger.
If you overlook the difficulty of Druid's Glen, you will find a warm welcome and a visually aesthetically pleasing golf course in very good condition. If I came back to play here, I would love to do so on a nice day. I am sure that it would elevate my thoughts on the course.
A brilliant parkland course. Held the Irish Open many times and not a bad hole on the course. Best parkland in Ireland
What a beautiful garden golf course! Played in June with great weather conditions and enjoyed it so much. Perfect shape, manicured fairways and true greens. It is by far the best parkland I have played in Ireland and one of the best inEurope. Some holes are unique like 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17 and 18. But special mention to 13 hole, what a tough par 4 and what a beautiful hole. Playing your second shot on hole 13 you need to think twice before going for the green by two, it is such a tough shot that if you have the guts to to for it you just deserve the green for the sake of it! In my case played conservative and reach the green by three and got a great bogie that tasted like a par. I loved 18 and pared it with a great finish bogie, birdie and par on 16,17 & 18. I think the price is really worth it for the great lay out, inmaculated shape and unique design. It is one course you should never miss if you are near Dublín. Will for sure play it again in my next golf trip to Ireland. It is at the level of Portmarnock, The European and The Island which we also played this trip.
I’ve played Druid’s Glen 5-6 times and find it enjoyable each and every time. For me it’s one of those nearly courses, I’ve nearly had a good round, but a couple of holes have scuppered me and I’ve always left like I left it out there, rather than having played the rest of the holes well. The 13th and the 18th, to many golfers they are more realistic as par 5’s, and I bet if anyone but single handicappers who played them as par 5’s they would ultimately score better. Why do I always think I’ll find and hold the green on the 13th – I never have, it wet or jungle every time.
So there are tough holes, but it’s not by many means a slog. Unless playing of the back tees, hit the fairways and many of the par 4’s aren’t that long. The par 5’s are not that difficult if you find the fairway too. Even if driving poorly, it’s not one of those courses that destroys you, it’s still enjoyable (I find Druids Heath more difficult). The par 3’s are pretty, the greens are large and even a less than perfect shot can find them. Just take enough club on the 17th to reach the back bunker (should you flush it), and you shouldn’t do worse than a 4 as the front and back bunkers have at least 2 clubs between them, both are shallow and easy to play from. Overall the greens are really consistent and don’t hold any real surprises, the bunkers aren’t penal either, you can still go for the green from many of the fairway bunkers. It’s a course that over the first few holes you can start to build a score and relax into the round, well until you get to the 13th tee and can’t get the disastrous fade out of your head.
It’s really good value now compared to pre-recession. Go play it, plenty of tee times for sensible money. The second or third time you play it is more enjoyable when you know the lines and aren’t intimidated by the “Irish Open” host status, remember it’s a totally different setup for pros re the tees, pins, greens and rough as few courses sell green fees for something a 12 handicapper can’t play.