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Druids Glen Course Review

About Druids Glen:

Druids Glen Golf Course in Wicklow County, Ireland offers one of the most majestic scenes of any golf course in the world. A 30 minute drive from south Dublin, this golf course provides a stunning landscape with views consisting of rolling hills, ocean vistas, and grazing sheep. You are ensured a round that is unlike an experience you would be able to find in San Diego and most of the United States. 

Dublin receives about 30 inches of rain per year on average; compare that to San Diego’s average rainfall of 12 inches. With this amount of rain, it’s easy to see why they have lush, almost florescent green grass, blanketing the entire area. The fairways are soft with efficient drainage that allows for your club to cut through the fairway to make the perfect divot, but the greens still play fast due to the excellent maintenance of the course. This is an adjustment in playing style compared to the dry courses and firm greens that frequent golf aficionados encounter in the South West region of the United States. Make sure to pack rain gear (and an umbrella), as you will very likely need a high quality rain suit to truly enjoy the Irish golf experience.

Druids Glen is known as a parkland course, which has rolling hills, trees, and elevation changes, and is typically further away from the coastline; although on a clear day you can see the coast that is only 4.4 kilometer (2.73 miles) drive away. The standard Irish courses would be known as a links style course, which has limited trees, connected fairways and typically resides close to the coastline with no protection from wind.

The course played host to the 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 Irish Open with a slew of professional greats that included John Daly, Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, and Jose-Maria OlazabalColin Montgomerie won the first and second year and almost clenched a 3rd trophy only to lose in a playoff to David Carter.  The 4th year of the tournament saw a new champion that was full of fire and passion. He went by the name of Sergio Garcia, or as the players liked to call him, “El Niño”.  The Irish open has yet to return to Druids Glen since 1999 but this course is high on the list for any professional tournament.

Course Spotlight:

The course is known as the “Augusta of Europe” and for good reason. It’s extremely difficult on a dry day, and the greens are challenging like Augusta National. The landscape is vast and ever changing with little sight of civilization as you navigate the course.

Hole 12 is a fantastic Par 3 with an elevated tee box overlooking a myriad of trees that frames the green and flowing river down below.  This hole is well suited for those with a creative mind and a knack for reading wind and judging elevation change.  Even the easiest of swings can find the back of the green or end up well past on a sloping hill if the wrong club is selected. No matter how you play this hole you will leave with a smile, it’s tranquility erasing all your golf woes.

The 13th (#1 Handicap) hole at Druids Glen is almost a reflection of the 13th at Augusta, known as Amen Corner and plays extremely difficult if you choose the wrong line or club.  It’s a long par 4 hole (491 yards) and for an amateur golfer you will still be left with 200+ yards to the hole to get home in two.  This majestic hole includes waterfalls, bridges, and a natural river that runs along the fairway, this hole will ignite all your senses and stimulate your mind.

Here are the hole-by-hole summaries as described by Druids Glenn:

The Front Nine

  • Hole 1 Par 4 – A great opening hole.  A tee shot down the left hand side will leave the best approach to this narrow green, which is well guarded by trees.
  • Hole 2 Par 3 – This vast green is notoriously fast, particularly left-to-right putts.  If the pin is on the left, take plenty of club to carry the bunker
  • Hole 3 Par 4 – An Iron or Fairway wood might be the best choice from the tee to find the fairway on this short par 4.  The green is guarded at the front by two bunkers, which will catch under-hit approach shots.
  • Hole 4 Par 4 – Large bunkers on both sides of the landing area make this a tough driving hole.  The left side should be favored for the approach, as the ground falls sharply down to the lake on the right.
  • Hole 5 Par 5 – Although it may be reachable in two for the big hitters, the reward is seldom worth the risk, lay-up and trust your wedge.
  •  Hole 6 Par 4 – A big drive is required, on this long uphill par 4 in order to reach the green in two.  You won’t be able to see much of the green for your approach.
  • Hole 7 Par 4 – After the ordeal of the tough uphill 6th this hole offers some respite.  A long iron or 3-wood aimed inside the bunkers on the right will set up the best approach.
  • Hole 8 Par 3 – A picturesque par 3 with water front and left.  The green slopes severely from back-right to front-left which leaves a difficult pitch if you miss the green right.
  • Hole 9 Par 4 – A straightforward par 4 with a generous landing area, particularly if you take a fairway wood or iron off the tee.  The green is slightly elevated, so be sure to take enough club to carry the trap at the front.

The Back Nine

  • Hole 10 Par 4 – Favor the right side of the fairway, which will set up the best approach.  The green falls away from you and is well protected at the front
  • Hole 11 Par 5 – A straightforward par 5 which is reachable in two for the big hitters.  Bunkers guard the front of the green, so take plenty of club for your approach.
  • Hole 12 Par 3 – From an elevated tee, the tee shot is across water to a generous green, which slopes from back to front.  Once your ball is in the air you have an anxious wait to find out if you have chosen the correct club.
  • Hole 13 Par 4 – With the fairway set at an angle it is imperative to choose your line carefully; too far left and you will run out of ground, too far right and you could find a watery grave.  You will most likely have a lengthy approach across water to a very narrow green.
  • Hole 14 Par 4 – There is a little point in flirting with the bunkers, so check your yardage and choose a club to lay up.
  • Hole 15 Par 4 – It is very important to find the fairway with your tee shot, as you will be playing your approach across water.  Despite being protected on the right by a bunker and on the left by heavy rough this is one of the most generous landing areas on the course.
  • Hole 16 Par 5 – The driving area is well protected by vast bunkers on both sides, which places a premium on accuracy.  Being uphill, the hole plays longer than its yardage.  The green is long and narrow and is heavily guarded all round with bunkers.
  • Hole 17 Par 3 – Walking off the 16th you might be struck with fear as you gaze across to the island green at the 17th and contemplate the task ahead.  Take plenty of club (there is ample room behind), take a deep breath and…
  • Hole 18 Par 4 – One of golf’s great finishing holes.  If you don’t his a massive drive, lay up and trust your wedge. 

Course Summary:

Druids Glen is a must play golf destination if you are looking to play multi-day rounds for your golf vacation or have an extra day on your vacation.  Add this course to your golf itinerary to truly immerse yourself in one of Europe’s hidden treasures.  Augusta National may be the ultimate destination in world golf but playing one of Ireland’s best, Druids Glen, is thrilling and memorable.

 Positives:

·       Friendly Irish staff

·       Challenging greens from any pin placement

·       Greens run fast when rain lets up (10 to 11 average on the stimpmeter)

·       Memberships available

·       Challenging course

·       Full bar and restaurants for all occasions

·       Price – Keeps the rounds per year low

·       Course only 30 minutes south from Dublin airport

·       Full Service hotel accommodations 

·       Two Courses: Druids Glen and Druids Heath

·       Hand Trolleys and Golf Carts

 Negatives:

·       Rains a lot, but that's what keeps the course beautiful

·       No USGA Slope Rating for American golfers   - More on USGA around the globe HERE

·      No posting on handicap system available with no slope rating for United States

·       High handicaps will struggle - worth the struggle! 

·       No GPS on Carts

Course Record: 62 shot PGA Professional Colin Montgomerie

For more on Druids Glen and Druids Heath, visit their site at Druids Glen.

 

Druids Glen Course Guide

Course Guide Download Here