Ruddy, Pat (Patrick John Andrew)

Golf Journalist, Photo-Journalist, Architect, Author, Bibliophile, Historian and Magazine publisher.
Born in Ballina in 1945 but was raised in Ballymote where his Dad, Martin (‘Sid’), an avid golfer and reader, was the resident postmaster. Playing golf mainly at the make shift course(s) in Ballymote and occasionally finding his way to Rosses Point, when his Dad was a man short. Eventually the Ruddys’ would take up family membership at Rosses Point, the perennial home of the West of Ireland championship.
Well-versed in the dark arts of golf design, optical illusions and the unchecked and interminable need for golf manufacturers to force the extension of golf course boundaries. Humility in the face of the unbearable lightness of being and eternal gratitude in his “being” having achieved his goals. The crown jewel of his personal achievements is surely The European Club, one of the World’s great golf links, experiences and challenges.
1957A seed (for his own club) is planted on news that Jack Burke and Jimmy Demaret founded The Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas
1964The Open Championship at the Old Course in St. Andrews was to be his first major championship. Tony ‘Champagne’ Lema was the champion golfer that year only to die in a plane crash two years later.
c.1965Pat, with typewriter in toe, moved to Dublin as a dedicated free-lance golf writer mainly contributing to the Evening Herald, his first article earning him the princely sum of three guineas. South African golf was another of the publications he put pen to paper for, but contributed to articles in eighteen countries as a freelance golf writer.
1968Pat became staff reporter at the Evening Herald and even then sought out course design work until he subsequently left in 1970 before launching his own golf magazine.
1969Engaged by Castlecomer Golf Club to redesign their nine-hole parkland course for a nominal fee. Pat would return again in 2002 to complete the design of an eighteen-hole course as the club that took a chance on a mere novice had launched his career in course design. The fifth hole was named in his honour. Pat would later partner up with Henry Cotton to design golf courses.
1972Launch of a new golf magazine – The Golfer’s Companion – where he was writer, publisher and photographer (his Brownie was an inseparable companion). The magazine had its final publication in 2000.
1970sOne of the first Irish journalists to attend the US Masters.
1975Parcel of land in the southern part of his home county of Sligo (Gortsheen) was his first venture. The flood plains of Sligo soon appeared as the Owenmore river burst its bank which created an unintended water feature.
 Lough Rynn Castle County Leitrim became the next location honed in on but a retreat at the eleventh hour left this as just a flickering ember.
1986The core site for The European Club comes on the market only two years after it had been earmarked as a potential site. Dunes encroached inland for half-a-mile reaching a height of eighty feet and a depth of forty. Further land banks are acquired subsequently.
1987The formation of The European Club and Tom Craddock joined the design team and the legendary Sir Henry Cotton died this year.
1990Messrs. Ruddy & Craddock design the Killeen Golf Club.
1992Open for play on 26 December 1992 after naming it The European Club and patenting the logo design (the Dolmen supporting a golf ball) are fed by guile, experience and serendipity in equal measure. The cost to play was £10 (a tenner) at the gate where the Nissan Bluebird was the only shelter is the clubhouse-less playground. There was no shortage of willing takers, even though word of mouth was the PR strategy, a personalised Field of Dreams. It opened on a three-day week basis and for seven days from 1 May 1993.
1992Messrs. Ruddy & Craddock design the St. Margaret’s Golf Club.
1993Ballymascanlon Golf Club set in the Cooley peninsula was an eighteen-hole parkland course designed by Ruddy & Craddock.
1993May 1993 saw Messrs. Ruddy & Craddock’s course design -work commence on a new championship course at Ballyliffin. The Glashedy Links would become a reality by August 1995.
1994Druids Glen was designed by Messrs. Ruddy & Craddock.
1995Messrs. Ruddy & Craddock design the nine-hole Connemara Isles Golf Club, a parkland course. Ruddy says, presumably for the pure grit and determination to get across the line – “it came from zero, and grew like a weed out of nothing.” – but probably best not to dwell on the literal meaning but rather on the sentiment.
1998The legendary golfer and gentleman, the larger than life Tom Craddock, a favourite son of Malahide Golf Club, and the other half of the Ruddy / Craddock partnership passed away.
1998Ballinlough Castle
1999Membership to The European Club closed.
1999Montreal Island where Pat designed two new courses.
2000Involved in redesign of the Portsalon Golf Club
2002Distinguished Services award from the Irish Golf Writers’ Association
2003June 2003 saw the opening of the Ruddy designed Sandy Hills Links at Rosapenna.
2003Druids Heath was designed by Pat Ruddy.
1997..Remodelling of the Hackett designed Donegal Golf Club was done under the watchful eye of Pat Ruddy.
Pat Ruddy also tweaked the holes at the Enniscorthy Golf Club.
Rosses Point, the renowned Harry Colt design, has sought his services to carry out improvements something which he took immense pride in. His reverence for the place extended to a flippant remark of wishing to be buried upright facing down the tenth fairway towards Benbulben.
Organised an All-Ireland Ludo championship at the CIE Club in Marlborough Street.
A member of the Irish, British and American Golf-Writers’ Associations.
2016Sponsored the Ruddy Cup for Irish PGA registered trainee professionals
Golf for Golf’s Sake
“I’ve never built a golf hole yet that people don’t have a strong opinions about. I don’t claim to be perfect, I don’t even claim to be right, but there she is, she’s honest.”
Source: True Links George Peper and Malcolm Campbell
His vast collection of 3,000+ books was started with the Knave of Clubs, the Eric Brown biography but he can count some of his own amongst their number.
The European Club Yearbook & Guide to the Links
2007Fifty Years In A Bunker The Creation of a World Top-100 Golf Links at The European Club
2012The Perfect Golf Links The Links of The European Club in Pictures With Musings on Golf Architecture
2013Beyond His Lordship’s Wildest Dream – Rosapenna
2014Golf’s Great Twin Miracles – Ballyliffin
2017Thirty Years in the Dunes: The European Club 1987 – 2017
2019Holes in My Head – A Lifetime Dreaming Golf Holes