Renowned Course Designer Pat Ruddy
“When a person comes to Ireland, they become a member of the family. Friendships are formed that last for decades. We notice a visitor and we embrace them. They are not just fodder to a business, they are very welcome,” says world class golf course designer Pat Ruddy.
Ruddy has designed some of our country’s top courses including Ballyliffin, Portsalon, Druids Glen and Rosapenna. He also designed and owns the European Golf Club located in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow.
“Ireland is made for golf. You can drive from coast to coast in just a couple of hours and play everything along the way. You have the luxury here of playing six or seven world-class courses within a one-hour drive of each other. In bigger countries you may have to drive hundreds of miles from one course to another,” says Ruddy. “We also have the perfect climate for golf. We don’t get six feet of snow in winter and it’s not 100 degrees in the shade in the summer. It can lash rain here but the ground will be dry within 30 minutes on a links course. There is very rarely a day here that you can’t play golf,” he continues.
In 2007 Ruddy took part in a bold plan to prepare Padraig Harrington for the British Open. The European Club hosted the Irish Professional Championship the week before the British Open. Great lengths were taken by Ruddy to simulate the Open Championship conditions. And Ruddy’s cunning plan worked. Harrington won the 2007 Irish Professional Championship in a playoff and next weekend won the British Open in a playoff at Carnoustie. Then, in 2008 Harrington won the Irish Professional Championship by four strokes and won the British Open by four at Birkdale the following weekend. “To contribute even a tiny bit to Harrington’s win was amazing,” says Ruddy. “Harrington’s win showed other Irish golfers such as McIlroy and McDowell that it was possible for Irish players to win a major,” he says.
It is hard not to be infected with Ruddy’s enthusiasm. “I play golf every day. I love to go down to the 12th hole at the European Club. It is beside the Irish Sea and is surrounded by high hills. It is lovely and quiet in the evening. I am like a baby with a bucket and spade in the sand. I could stay there forever.”