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.
Druids Glen is a well-maintained parkland course located south of Dublin designed by Pat Ruddy and Tom Craddock. At times it feels like you are walking in an arboretum happening to have golf clubs with you. We played the 6560 tees, correctly determining that the 7046 back tees would be too much for us. It is a beautiful golf course due to the incorporation of streams, small ponds, and the natural landscaping. It is hilly and plays down and up from the clubhouse. I think this is one of the better parkland courses and it will test every aspect of your game despite it being a resort golf course. If I was an American and it was one of my first golfing trips to Ireland, it is not a course I would go to play since Americans want to play the famous links courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. But if you have played the famous links, then this is well worth a stop. If you are local to Ireland, then I would definitely recommend that you make a stop. I found it to be more interesting than the K Club.
One critique of the marketing for Druids Glen is the use of the “Augusta National of Ireland.” Please, it is nothing like Augusta National. Some compare the twelfth at Druids Glen to the famous twelfth at Augusta National as well. They are not alike in the smallest amount other than they both incorporate water. Everything, including the size of the water, the shape of the green, an elevated tee versus fairly level, the placement of the bunkering, the trees, no bushes…..it is all so different.
In my personal review of my own ranking system, I noted the best hole is the very difficult par 4 thirteenth hole which plays as 491/461 downhill from an elevated tee with the fairway disappearing to the right into a line of trees with a small stream between the fairway and trees. There is a lot of foliage down the left as well and if one hits their tee ball too straight, then you will go through the fairway and have a daunting pitch out if you find your ball. Your tee shot needs a left to right shape and depending on how far you go off the tee, you will be left with a decision to either lay up in front of the water which has now passed back in front of you to form a small pond in front of the green with a second shot that could be 180-240 yards depending on your strength of conviction. The “good news” is that there is some fairway between the water and the green even though it can appear the water is much closer to the green than it is.
The par 3’s are of a varying length, second is 190/174 to a very large green, eighth is 166/152, twelfth is 174/168 and the seventeenth is 203/178. I read the other reviews and most do not mention the second hole, which has both length and a well placed bunker to a green that is diagonal to you with the left farther back. It can add another 10-13 yards to the tee shot if the pin is placed on the left back side. The eighth is perhaps the prettiest hole on the golf course with a wonderful mixture of trees and bushes although one could make a case for the twelfth as both have water and wonderful foliage surrounding the hole. Eight has a nice green tilted right down to left. Seventeen for me is a long shot over water.
The first hole is a par 4 playing downhill with a forest down the left side to a flat green.
Although only two of the next five are difficult holes, I did like how holes three and four and six and seven, all par 4’s are doglegs in opposite directions with the third a short par 4 left of 339/330 with a nice left to right tilt on the green, where a single tree on the right annoys the tee shot. The fourth is much longer at 446/417 turning right with good bunkering on either side at the turn and a green running away from you, the sixth being a stout 476/456 again with bunkers on either side at the right hand turn, and the seventh turning left at 405/392 with a series of bunkers on the right side at the turn.
These par 4’s are interrupted by a short par 5, the sixth hole, of 517/492 which has fairway bunkers on the right to avoid on the tee shot and then another collection on the right nearer the green along with two bunkers, one front and one back of the green and a large mound to the right front. It is a good use of bunkers on this hole, something you do not normally see in a resort golf course. The hole plays shorter than its yardage as it is downhill after a crest in the fairway that can be reached on the drive. The green has some good slope to it back to front and to the left.
The ninth is a gentle dogleg left hitting down over a valley with a steeply sloped green that for me was simply a hole to get to the tenth, where we again alternate doglegs with the tenth being a dogleg right of 440/402 and the eleventh being a pr 5 of 522/512. Ten is a nice par 4 with a fairway sloped left to right and has perhaps the best greenside bunkering on the golf course. The eleventh has two bunkers, trees, and another bunker down the right side at the dogleg forcing you to play out to the left rather than try to shorten the hole.
After the difficult thirteenth, I did not care for fourteen or fifteen. Fourteen is a par 4 with a very sharp dogleg right. It felt like the hole was forced into the area and I felt it would have been better served as another par 3. The fifteenth is long at 456/395 with a pond and trees to navigate near the green but for those playing the back tee it seemed like an unnecessarily long walk back to them.
The finish is good. Sixteen is a par 5 dogleg left of 538/481 that is well bunkered left and right off the tee at the turn and then has four bunkers surrounding the green. The seventeen I noted as just another long par 3 over water. It is not interesting, but it is challenging. The eighteenth climbs back up the hill to the clubhouse and has a series of ponds on the left side as you get near the green built in connecting ponds by small waterfalls that you can cross over. The final pond crosses directly in front of the green. It plays at 450/422 but obviously with the uphill it plays much longer.
For a resort course it really does have good variety in the holes, has good bunkering both in the fairways and greenside and makes good use of water through streams and ponds. Perhaps the fairway bunkers are too shallow, but one often finds that on resort golf courses. I did not make many notes regarding the greens. They are in good condition and roll true but I did not find any but the eighteenth to be overly challenging.
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.