We are big fans of golf course architecture and like to keep up to date on new golf club histories. You have to seek out most golf club histories because they are privately printed and not circulated by book distributors or the publishing houses. In this vein, we review a new club history out of Ireland.
The European Club is a golf course located on Brittas Bay, south of Dublin. The course is owned by and was designed and built by Pat Ruddy in 1992. The European Club is ranked by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 courses in the world. Pat Ruddy recently published a history of The European Club titled Fifty Years in A Bunker.
The European Club, like its founder, is non-traditional. The 199 page book is full of color pictures that capture the magical light that exists in Ireland. The book is organized into eighteen chapters and tells the story of how Ruddy acquired the land, ran into opposition, built the course and how it has evolved into one of the most respected in the world.
The course was designed with two extra holes (both par threes) and according to how the course is setup, the scorecard you are given prior to the round has two holes crossed out. I have been lucky enough to play the European Club twice and, reflecting Ruddy’s personality, it has a non-traditional approach. What comes through clearly talking to Ruddy is that he is an independent thinker, an iconoclast and likes to do things his way.
This same approach is reflected in this interesting club history. The book is self-published and the writing style is interesting. Let us call it a staccato style. If Ruddy feels like using one or two words as a sentence, then so it is. At times, it turns into a bit of a rambling treatise with hundreds of sentences strung together and stream of conscience style of prose. Ruddy was liberal in his use of exclamation points and question marks. He uses the first person form to tell his story. For example, in this passage, Ruddy discusses golf course rankings: “Now, one is aware of the criticisms leveled at the rankings. One is in agreement with some of these agreements as one does not believe that it is possible to number the courses 1-to-20 or 1-to-100 in a strict numerical order of merit”.
What’s particularly interesting is how Ruddy managed to do this on a shoe-string budget and had the patience and tenacity to go slowly, build the course himself and then
Despite the unusual writing style, we are fans of both Pat Ruddy and The European Club. The book really lets his personality shine through and gives intimate details about the genesis and genius of a new world-class golf course.