MR. BUZZY ON TOUR: Luttrelstown Castle Golf Course, Ireland.

The 5* treatment on the outskirts of Dublin.

The evolution of Luttrelstown Castle from medieval stronghold to comfortable estate goes hand in hand with the history of Ireland. Built as a Norman stronghold, the castle was initially owned by the Luttrells, who fought with William at Hastings and who were to play an important role in both English as Irish history. The castle is now open for functions and over the years, distinguished guests have graced the castle with their presence. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Fred Astaire, Paul Newman and Ronald Reagan have all stayed overnight and more recently, the castle was the venue for the Beckhams’ wedding.

Close to Dublin and just off the M3, Luttrelstown is easily reachable from the airport, the centre of town as well as from the North West. 

The McKenzie/Steele design features links style bunkers with high lips which are real hazards and measures 7,347 yards from the championship tees. Water features on 11 of the holes but doesn’t always come into play and is more an ecstatic feature on most holes. Mature trees and views of the castle on holes 2 and 3 plus the stretched views over the Liffey Valley on the back nine make this a tranquil course apart from the entrance road to the castle frequented by tourist busses. 

The nines have recently been reversed so now the first hole, a dogleg par 4 with a tee shot over water is not the easiest of starts. There is no real let up with hole 2 playing alongside water and again, hole 3, a long Par5 over and along water. The Par3 fourth again features water but from then on in, things get slightly easier. The stretch from the 6th till the 11th is where you need to build a score. My favourite hole was the long downhill 12th which would actually make for a great ‘short’ par 4 to take on with water on the right and back of the green. What I particularly liked is even when you hit it a bit astray, (yep, it does happen), you will in most cases find your ball and be able to navigate yourself back to the fairway to continue play.  The greens are spectacular, large, undulating, multiple levels and possible pin positions, a delight to navigate. The clubhouse is casual but provides dining and conference facilities for groups. A well stocked pro-shop and ample practice facilities completes the offering.

MR. BUZZY ON TOUR - Ballyliffin Glashedy Links, Ireland


Hard to beat links golf … on the Glashedy!

When the European Tour, under the influence of Rory McIlroy decided and announced Ballyliffin as the host for the Irish Open, a few eyebrows got lifted and questions were asked. What about access, what about accommodation, will the Irish travel all the way up there etc. Well, the answer was delivered emphatically when the event drew record crowds. The Glashedy is one of two courses on site with the Old Links, recently upgraded by Nick Faldo, the other option. The Glashedy is a Pat Ruddy (European Club / Druids Glen) / Tom Craddock links masterpiece where every shot has to be committed to. 

Donegal is a county with some of the most breathtaking views in all of Ireland.Everywhere you turn, the landscape is spectacular and to be able to play golf in such an area of natural beauty is always a treat. 

The Glashedy Links, played on a calm end of August day, was in perfect condition just weeks after the Irish Open. From the first tee shot to the last putt, this course requires attention. Go left and take on the bunker with he driver or stay right with the shorter club and leave a longer shot into the green? 

It starts on the first tee where it’s 205 yards to carry the left trap and 243 to roll into the 2nd … same on the 2nd, the tee points to the left bunker which is 258 but catches anything from 20 yards short of it. Hole 3 has some new bunkers put in and 280 gets you in between them. Now many of you will say, 280 yards … no way. This is a hard and bouncy links course and with the wind behind, one would easily flirt with these bunkers.

Every hole is different and each of them asks a different question, wether it’s from the tee or approaching the green. The putting surfaces are spectacularly good. They are true and fast for a links course. You pick your line and stroke the putter and the ball will reach the hole. 

Ballyliffin with its two courses and plenty of accommodation in the town must be on your play list if you’re serious about golf. This is links golf at its best.

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Ballyliffin Golf Club

Address: Ballyliffin, Inishowen - Co. Donegal, Ireland
36 Holes: Old Links and Glashedy Links
Phone: +353 74 937 6119 - Email:

General Manager: John Farren

Member of North & West Coast Links, Ireland.

MR. BUZZY ON TOUR - Valderrama Golf Club, Spain.

Wow, wow and more wow …


I’ve played many courses in my life (over 325) and I have played some of the better country clubs in the USA but the overall conditioning of Valderrama had me baffled.

This course has some serious tournament history and it’s not somewhere everybody can just pitch up and ask to play. The green fee is quite steep for starters (€320) and they only open up a few tee times a day. This is a club owned by members since they bought it off the Ortiz-Patino family.

Constructed in 1974 as Sotogrande New by Robert Trent Jones Sr, the course was acquired by Jaimie Ortiz-Patino in 1984. The course was redesigned and extended again by Robert Trent Jones Sr. By 1999 it was generally recognised as one of if not, the best golf course in Europe. The 1997 Ryder Cup with an inspired Seve Ballesteros as European Captain firmly established the myth that is still Valderrama.

The course itself is not overly long by modern standards with a par of 71 and just under 7,000 yards. For British and Irish golfer, a slope of 147 wouldn’t mean much but it probably equates to a standard scratch of around 76 so 5 over par. This is not a pushover course. So what makes it so difficult ? As an example, I played in a pro-am shotgun start and our first hole was the 18th which is not the easiest of holes. My drive hugged the corner of the dogleg and ended up at the far end where we could see it sitting pretty. When we arrived to the ball, on the right hand side of the fairway, the distance to the flag was around 135 yards. Great result … except … we had no shot to the green let alone the flag. The only option was to hit an extra club over the left hand greenside bunker and chip back. I did and ended up making par. This is the main difficulty of the golf course, you have to be on the correct side of the fairway, the correct distance etc. which increases the pressure on your tee shot. Overhanging branches, well bunkered and small greens and generally 12 on the stimp will make any golfer doubt himself.

Graeme McDowell —> Driver + 7 iron = Albatross !!!

Graeme McDowell —> Driver + 7 iron = Albatross !!!

All the holes are great but some are memorable. The Par 5 fourth ‘La Cascada is certainly one of them. After two good shots I was left with around 130 yards. In the left hand rough and with the pin top right, it was hard to pick a line. There is nothing you can see bar the waterfall and the lake. Miss it right, you’re dead. Miss it left and up the slope, you’re dribbling it down a slippery green towards the water. It does really test every shot you have and requires some shots you haven’t got. Another cracking hole is 17 where Tiger famously dunked a couple in the lake fronting the green. Read the plaque indicating that Graeme McDowell hit driver - 7 iron en route to an albatross and wonder … I had one of my better drives of the day, admittedly into the wind, and was left with 245 yards, again into the wind. Not a hope in hell I was going to get there. Left myself short but unfortunately in a fairway bunker from where I hit it over the green … and plugged. Now I’m faced with a nightmare shot to a short pin and a green sloping away towards the water and nothing to stop my ball.

This is a course that keeps on testing you over and over. Physically demanding enough but mentally draining, Valderrama really is a ‘tick the box’ experience and if you ever have the chance, don’t hesitate. You’ll have clubhouse stories for months.


Verdict: One of the best courses I’ve played … ever. 

From the moment you enter the Sotogrande Resort it starts to dawn on you … this is not your average Spanish resort. The entrance to the club, although guarded and all is not that impressive, a few covered parking spots and many ‘normal’ cars. But walk around the corner and the driving range unfolds in all its grandeur and it only gets better from there on in.

Real Club Valderrama

Avda Los Cortijos s/n 11310 Sotogrande, Cadiz, España

T: +34 956 791 200

 Reservations & Information: 

President, Visconde de Pereira

Vice President & Treasurer, Juan C. Garay Ibargaray

General Manager, Javier Reviriego Bó