Unique is a cliché used to describe many courses but the 20-hole European is surely more unique than most. Perhaps it’s too difficult for the handicap player, especially when the course is set up in it’s tournament livery. We played here ahead of the 2009 Irish Professional Championship and it was too difficult for me to play anywhere near my handicap despite calm conditions and the whole of Ireland basking in rare hot sunshine. The fairways were too narrow and the rough was frankly too rough. That said, this was the 2nd time I’d played Mr Ruddy’s course and I enjoyed the experience every bit as much as my previous encounter. I’d certainly recommend the experience to any serious golfer who is not afraid of getting beaten up and losing a few balls. The eccentricity of the place is obvious and I’m not a personal fan of railway sleepered bunkers, especially those placed on fairways. If it were my course, I would consider a programme of riveting and the use of pot bunkers. However, a course designer I am not, but all I know is that a sculled shot from a sleepered bunker can result in injury and a solid tee shot hitting a railway sleeper can result in your ball disappearing into oblivion. All of this said, I do agree with an earlier reviewer, the European is a better course than Portmarnock Old and feel the European thoroughly deserves its position in the World Top 100.
Date: November 13, 2009