The European Club

Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Unlike most other links golf courses, The European Club stays up-to-date instead of simply staying the same. Owner Pat Ruddy is the one responsible for making improvements to the course year after year, something he has done since The European Club first opened in 1987. This labor of love has earned The European Club the reputation of being considered one of the finest links courses in the entire British Isles.

Thanks to Ruddy’s ongoing efforts to make The European Club’s golf course the best it can be, there’s not a bad hole in the bunch; all 20 of them. That said, the course’s famed seventh hole is in a league of its own. It’s one of the most highly regarded par fours in the world, appearing on Golf Magazine’s list of the top 100 holes.

The seventh hole is a particularly cerebral beast. An aerial approach seems tempting at first, but airborne balls have a habit of finding their way onto the beach beyond the green. Instead, players should opt for a calculated bump-and-run approach to steer clear of the sandy dunes to the right of the fairway and the thick rough to the left.

Given its unique reputation, it’s no wonder The European Club has welcomed greats ranging from Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy to Tiger Woods, who holds the course record of 67. Harrington has played the course since he was a young boy, calling it “a great links that you have to think your way around.”

Thankfully, you don’t have to be Padraig Harrington or Tiger Woods to conquer The European Club. That’s because the course’s scorecards feature a spot labeled “What I Should Have Shot!,” letting more “mortal” golfers decide whether or not they’d like to set the new course record.