My wife and I had the privilege and pleasure of playing The European Club twice this past August -- once, in a torrential downpour with 30mph gusts -- the second time, days later, with the threat of even worst weather, but sun and light breezes prevailed (and we essentially had the course to ourselves on both days).
Three points to make. First, The European Club is by far the most complete golf course I've ever played in Ireland. Even as a bogey golfer, I can recognize and appreciate the combination of great links land, excellent conditioning, wonderful routing, diverse hole designs -- and the added attention-to-detail elements that challenge great golfers, but still create a manageable and memorable experience for the average golfer. Second, I absolutely love what I'll call "semi-blind" drives on several of the holes -- ones where you can kind of see and feel and know the landing areas (from the shot guide) -- but are challenged to decide to either layup and have a long second shot in -- or trust your swing and try to hit the perfect drive. Again, for the bogey golfer like me, to choose the latter and be successful in execution is extremely pleasing and rewarding. Makes you feel like a pro. And third, while there is everything to be said about the grand old links courses (the ones that Mother Nature carved out) -- and yes, the modern makers sometimes get it wrong (see St. Andrews Castle) -- when the modern makers get it right, boy do they get it right (I think of Kingsbarn, my favorite course in Scotland, short of the Old Course). Is it ok for me to suggest that The European Club is the Kingsbarn of Ireland (or Kingsbarn the European Club of Scotland :-)? I'm not sure how much earth Mr. Ruddy moved to create this masterpiece -- but I can assure you that the combination of his passion and love or the game, plus his golf and artistic talent, plus what God gave him to work with -- he got it just right. And btw, as a sidebar -- the only great concentration of links courses in the U.S. are at Bandon Dunes -- and The European Club, even more so than Kingsbarn, would be an absolutely complimentary and perfect fit there, in my humble opinion.
One final point to share. I promised I would not mention any of the staff by name, so I won't -- but needless to say they treated my wife and I like long lost family (dare I say like a "prodigal son and daughter," in the midst of the stormy weather of Biblical proportions that we experienced :-) -- sincerely and completely. The team created and gave to us, as gifts, the most memorable days of our vacation. Thank you. And while the green fee may be on the very high side -- if I ever have the opportunity again, I will return here first, before the Portmarnocks and Old Heads of the world. Don D
Date: December 05, 2017