Played three rounds at The European Club in late July. Played twice in the morning and once in the late afternoon. The European Club is a par 71 links course that measures 7,355 yards from the blue tees and 5,569 yards from the red tees. The European has an additional par 3 on each side for a total of 20 holes. Including the additional holes the links measures 7,726 from the blue tees and 5,788 from the red tees with a par of 77. Golfers of all abilities can play this links as long as they play the correct tees and hit the ball relatively straight. Overall an excellent links that played harder and firmer each day with the last day a perfect sunny day and all 20 holes were a great experience.
The Ruddy family and everyone at The European Club made me feel very welcome. I played here three times during this trip because The European has relatively little play which allowed me to truly enjoy the challenge of playing this great links in its fabulous setting. By playing on different days got to experience the winds from different directions which made me appreciate how differently the holes can play. I did enjoy the placement of the railway sleeper bunkers throughout the links and they are certainly hazards but are very fair. My last day bought the "Perfect Golf Links" by Pat Ruddy which gave me much insight into his design of the links. For this review will use the distances from the white tees.
The front nine includes two par threes; the second hole which measures 148 yards, and the 177 yard sixth hole. The second is protected by four bunkers in front so it is essential to hit enough club while the sixth requires accuracy as it has a large bunker short and right and is protected on the left by a lateral water hazard. The third hole is the lone par 5 on the front that measures 481 yards. A nice risk/reward hole with great views that can be reached in 2 but the green is protected by 3 well placed bunkers. The distances on the six par fours on the front range from the 363 yard first to the 449 yard seventh. I thought the seventh was the most difficult and a great hole. The first is a relatively easy hole with a drive down the left side preferable and a green that is well protected by bunkers with a narrow run up area on the right side of the green. The 402 yard eighth was the only hole without any bunkers but the towering dunes the length of the hole made this one of my favorites. The fourth (426 yards), fifth (398 yards), and ninth (402 yards) are all fair, solid holes with excellent bunkering while being framed by the dunes.
The back nine includes one par 3, the 160 yard 14th, which was one of my favorites as it is framed by sand dunes and is protected by two bunkers short right of the green and also on the left and back of the green. The 503 yard 13th was the lone par 5 on the back that has an elevated tee with the Irish Sea down the entire right side of the fairway and of course many well placed bunkers the length of the hole. The green was probably the most interesting of all as it has two separate sections of greens with a bunker in the middle. The seven par fours range in distance from the 379 yard eleventh to the 438 yard twelfth. The tenth and eleventh holes are both good tests with excellent bunkers and again framed by the dunes. The twelfth is an excellent hole that has the Irish Sea on the entire right side and could play over 500 yards if the pin is placed on the back of the green which measures 127 yards from the front to the back -- definitely the longest green I have ever played. The 379 yard fifteenth is framed with the Irish Sea on the right and four fairway bunkers on the left with bunkers on the front right and left protecting the elevated green. The downhill 399 yard 16th is framed by four fairway bunkers on the right and one on the left. The 389 yard seventeenth has an elevated tee and is the other hole on the links without any bunkers. It is framed by towering sand dunes and is another solid hole. The 425 yard dogleg left eighteenth is a strong finishing hole with the tee shot protected by 6 fairway bunkers on the right and one on the left. Short of the green is a slivering burn that will gobble up shots short of the green.
The two extra holes on the links were number 7a at 120 yards and number 12a at 160 yards. Both excellent short holes that look like they were both just meant to be here and it was nice to play the extra holes.
The European Club was enjoyable to play and would highly recommend it to any golfer that wants to challenge a modern classic links in this fabulous setting. Definitely want to play here again. Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMFjgmGi-Q8 to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Date: August 04, 2014