What did it take for Druids Glen to become European Golf Resort in 2005? First in 1995, they fashioned the fantastic Druids Glen golf course over 175 acres of beautiful County Wicklow countryside. Then they added a magnificent 148-room hotel – with full conference and leisure centre facilities – which was completed in 2002. Finally in 2003, they got Pat Ruddy to design and build another course, Druids Heath, to complement Druids Glen.
Druids Heath is a mix of heathland and parkland with some links-like elements thrown in for good measure. Distance is the main factor of difficulty with every one of the ten par fours over four hundred yards in length (one measures 513 yards from the back tees) and three of the four par threes are more than 200 yards long.
Length isn’t everything, however. Holes at Druids Heath have been routed to take advantage of some dramatic elevation changes, adding interest to the round every step of the way. Although water features at only a handful of holes, there are plenty of other obstacles to be avoided on the course including gorse, trees, rough and over one hundred well-positioned bunkers.
There are no easy holes here. Just when you think you have done well to earn a respite after five strong par fours from the 6th to the 10th holes, you discover the par three 11th is all of 250 yards from the back markers, albeit downhill. Some relief!
Druids Heath has not one but two signature holes, played back-to-back. The first, the long par four 12th measures a massive 492 yards and it plays every inch of that distance. The tee shot is played uphill to a fairway that then turns slightly right, breaking gently downhill with a left to right slope to a pond. The green is past a shoulder on the left of the fairway, protected by bunkers left and right, framed by trees to the back right of the putting surface. Most golfers will be pleased to get close in two then hope for a chip and putt to save par.
The 420-yard par four 13th has a stand of trees to be negotiated at the left hand side of the landing area. They have to be cleared or the tee shot drawn round them to set up the approach shot. The hole then turns downhill to the right and the second shot must avoid a pond to the front, a large, mature tree immediately to the left and couple of bunkers to the front and right of the angled green. Not many golfers will be able to walk to the 14th tee with fours marked on the card for the preceding two holes.
It’s early days yet in the life cycle of a golf course, but some commentators rate Druids Heath above the acclaimed Druids Glen course. The only way to judge for yourself is to play them both and then decide which you prefer.
Very bland course with little to write praise about