Lahinch Golf Club, Lahinch, Co. Clare
Lahinch Golf Club is frequently referred to as “the St. Andrew’s of Ireland” because of its close proximity and interaction with the local village. The links is situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The combination of bracing air and wind from the sea is one of the enduring attractions for golfers who ply their skills on two magnificent championship courses – the Old Course measuring 6950 yards and the Castle Course, measuring 5556 yards.
There is a great welcome in Lahinch for golfers, young and old. Many golfers come from all parts of the world to play “Lahinch” and they regularly return. There is a friendly atmosphere at the Club and a deep appreciation of the game of golf.
Since 1895 Lahinch has hosted the South of Ireland Championship, the oldest provincial golf championship in Ireland and a major highlight of the golfing year. Lahinch has also hosted all the major Irish championships, amateur and professional, down through the years.
Both courses present a unique challenge for all categories of golfers. One’s golfing education is not complete until the challenge of playing Lahinch is taken on and thoroughly enjoyed
Lahinch Golf Club was founded in 1892, as reported in the Clare Journal of 11th April of that year. The Club started when, on the 26th March, 1892, Alexander W. Shaw and Richard J. Plummer, two prominent officials of Limerick Golf Club, went to the west coast of Clare to follow up on a casual rumour that, somewhere between Ennistymon and Miltown Malbay, there was suitable ground for a golf course.
While travelling from Ennistymon they passed what was then a dreary, desolate piece of land, a mass of sand-hills. As a result of further visits to the area Lahinch Golf Club was born.
In 1894, the original layout of 1892 was re-designed by old Tom Morris of St Andrews. A remaining example of his work is the present 5th hole, “The Dell”. In 1907, George Gibson, the Westward Ho! Professional, was invited to modernise the course to cope with the newly developed rubber-cored golf ball. He introduced five holes to the seaward side of the road, which was the favoured choice of the committee at the time.
1927 saw the arrival in Lahinch of Alistair MacKenzie, a qualified doctor who gave up medicine in favour of golf course architecture. After Lahinch, MacKenzie went on to design Augusta National, Pebble Beach and Cyprus Point among others in the United States, Cork Golf Club in Ireland and the Royal Melbourne in Australia. Lahinch Golf Club is proud that the qualities he showed at Lahinch earned him such a high reputation in his later years.
MacKenzie was a purist in golf course design. He used many of the natural attributes of each site that he worked on. He strongly believed in keeping a natural appearance to a golf course, creating and shaping holes through the sand dunes and creating greens with subtle contours and movement, rolling with the natural fall of the land.
Since its inception in 1895, The Old Course at Lahinch has been the home of the oldest Provincial championship in Ireland – the South of Ireland Amateur Open Championship. Past winners and finalists of the “South” have gone on to great heights in the professional ranks: people such as John O’Leary, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Graham McDowell.
Lahinch Golf Club and the village of Lahinch are steeped in golf and its traditions. There is always a welcoming face and pleasant smile to greet the visitor. In the Club nothing is too much trouble; the members and staff delight in the visitors who come to play and enjoy the marvellous links.
In 1999, the club embarked on a five-year development project to restore the MacKenzie characteristics of the Old Course that had been lost by alterations carried out in the 1930’s. The Club undertook a screening of many world renowned course architects, finally deciding on Mr. Martin Hawtree, whose father and grandfather were also eminent golf course architects. One of Mr. Hawtree’s recent course development projects was Royal Birkdale, venue of the 1998 Open Championship. Mr. Hawtree, a keen student of the MacKenzie traditions, endeared himself to the club members at an extraordinary general meeting called to approve his plans for the Old Course. When asked what the club would have after his endeavours, he replied “a restored MacKenzie course”.
The work was done over the winter months each year, starting in October 1999, with the final changes being completed in March 2003. Only four greens remain unchanged, holes four, nine, fourteen and eighteen. The teeing grounds on sixteen holes were rebuilt. Two new par three holes were built and four holes were extensively re-routed. Although the course is only 106 yards longer from the medal tees, the impact of the changes is vividly reflected in the increase of the SSS from 71 to 73. The finished Martin Hawtree “restored MacKenzie course” at Lahinch has received world-wide acclaim, as evidenced by its twenty-seventh place in Golf Digest’s 2005 “Best 100 Golf Courses outside the United States”. Lahinch Golf Club wishes all our members and visitors many happy hours playing our restored MacKenzie course.
- Tel: 353 (0)65 7081003
- Fax: 353 (0)65 7081592
- Tel: 353 (0)65 7081408
- Fax: 353 (0)65 7081592
- Tel: 353 (0)65 7081103
- Fax: 353 (0)65 7081592