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.
Words: Jo Maes (Mr. Buzzy) - Chairman of the European Golf & Travel Media Association.