Lahinch (Old) - Clare - Ireland

Lahinch Golf Club,
Lahinch,
County Clare,
Ireland


  • +353 (0) 65 7081003


Lahinch is derived from the old Irish name Leithinsi, a half island. The village dates back to the 18th century and grew in popularity thanks to George I, who believed that eating periwinkles and sea-grass was healthy.

Golf at Lahinch dates back to 1892. Three local Limerick golfers laid out an 18-hole course, assisted by officers of the Scottish “Black Watch” regiment who were stationed in Limerick at that time. In 1894, Old Tom Morris was commissioned to make improvements to the layout and he made excellent use of the natural terrain, especially the giant sand dunes. Old Tom believed that Lahinch was the finest natural course that he had seen.

In the mid 1890s, the West Clare Railway made the town more accessible and consequently, people flocked to Lahinch to stay at the new Golf Links Hotel. The whole town lives and breathes golf. Bernard Darwin wrote the following in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, published in 1910: “The greatest compliment I have heard paid to Lahinch came from a very fine amateur golfer, who told me that it might not be the best golf in the world, but was the golf he liked to play best. Lest this may be attributed to patriotic prejudice, I may add that he was an Englishman born and bred.”

In 1927, Dr Alister MacKenzie redesigned the course, relocating a number of holes closer to the bay. The redesign work took one year to complete and featured undulating triple tiered greens. MacKenzie was pleased with his work and said: “It will make the finest and most popular course that I, or I believe anyone else, ever constructed”.

Unfortunately, in 1935, the same time that MacKenzie was designing Augusta with Bobby Jones, the Lahinch committee decided that his greens were too tough for the average golfer. John Burke was granted the remit to flatten them out. Happily, in 1999, Martin Hawtree knowledgably reinstated MacKenzie’s characteristics, completing Lahinch’s restoration.

Lahinch is an enchanting place to play golf. It’s rugged, distinctive, unusually varied and immensely entertaining. This traditional out and back layout is situated next to the lovely beach of Liscannor Bay.

During the last week of July, Lahinch hosts the South of Ireland Championship, an annual occurrence since 1895. The “South” is a matchplay competition, which attracts many spectators and some great amateur golfers, although it is unlikely that anybody will beat John Burke’s record. The “King of Lahinch” was the South of Ireland champion 11 times between 1928 and 1946.

Views across the bay from the 3rd are uplifting. This 446-yard par four, has a blind drive to a hidden fairway and the approach to the green is obscured by a hill on the right. The 4th is a short par five named Klondyke. It's one of the most unusual holes in golf and an Old Tom speciality. The tee shot needs to find a narrow rippled fairway located in a valley between dunes. A blind second shot then has to negotiate Klondyke, a towering sand dune that straddles the fairway some 200 yards away from the green. It's certainly a quirky hole but it's also very memorable.

What's the best way to follow such an eccentric hole? Why, another highly peculiar one, naturally! Left untouched since Old Tom Morris first fashioned it over a century ago, Dell is the renowned blind par three 5th, its green nestling between towering sand hills that surround the narrow green on all sides. A stone on top of one of the dunes indicates the hole location from the tee so golfers are advised to factor in the wind direction, pick the right club for the yardage then take aim for the hidden flag.

The Old course at Lahinch is a gem, but take note of where the goats are. If they are sheltering near the clubhouse—take your umbrella—you are in for a wet round.

Lahinch Golf Club staged the Irish Open for the first time in 2019. The event was a treat for the pros, especially Spain's Jon Rahm who won the title by two shots. Englishman Robert Rock grabbed the headlines on Saturday after carding a record-breaking 60. Rock birdied the last six holes during round three and had a 35-foot putt for eagle on the last for a 59 but missed by inches.

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Reviews for Lahinch (Old)

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Description: Lahinch Golf Club is situated next to the lovely beach of Liscannor Bay. It's an enchanting place to play golf... rugged, distinctive, unusually varied and immensely entertaining. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 53
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Cédric
Not much to add to what has already been written…Except that those two “1 ball ratings” are completely absurd, shocking and ridiculous. I would really like to know what the person writing May 11th 2006 favorite course is!!! Ballybunion feels a bigger club, Waterville a tougher track but Lahinch is probably the most fun of them all and it remains one my favorite course anywhere. The routing is superb, the location idyllic. The other “1 ball reviewer” must have been really unlucky as the welcome both in the club house and in the Pro shop (only the 4th Pro since the creation of the club!!) are wonderfully Irish, understand extremely friendly. A little word on the Castle Course on the other side of the road that is not mentioned anywhere: not a great course, probably not even a gem, pretty short and easy, but a good warm up for the BIG course!
April 28, 2008
10 / 10
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Luke Willmott
For all you links golf fanatics out there, please tell me if there’s a better course than Lahinch. I need to play it. I’ve just paid my second visit on a deserted Thursday evening, having negotiated a reduced green fee, I flew round in two and a half hours, beaming from ear to ear the entire time. I didn’t come close to my handicap through my own rustiness and a very ‘sporty’ spring breeze but boy was it gloriously good fun. All the Par 3’s are picture postcard gorgeous, the Par 5’s sublime and without a weak Par 4 you have the complete course. Good play is rewarded and bad punished by the plethora of strategically placed bunkers. It never feels like a slog and remains fair with its landing areas (especially on blind or semi blind shots) and it’s run offs, unlike many links courses I could name. Pure links pleasure, Lahinch – my favourite!
April 16, 2008
10 / 10
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Kevin Powers
After we got out of sight of the clubhouse we played it from the tips. And the wind blew. It was a bear. But loved it. From the straightforward and difficult ( #1) to the unusual #5 (The Dell), to the 3 reachable par 5's (depending on wind) and a series of sensational par 4's it was all good. If you want to score, get a caddy. We had Pat (a member) and he was excellent. Go to Kenny's downtown and go to Doolin and have one at O'Connors. Hope you enjoy it as we did.
September 27, 2007
10 / 10
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mark till
we played the Old Course yesterday 19/9/07. The weather was awful but the course was wonderfull a really great links from nwhat we could see which was not a lot . This is however my worst experiance playing golf in Ireland which I adore , we were treated with no respect whatsover and received service that was the worst I have ever had .
September 19, 2007
1 / 10
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CDM
Many words are used to describe the top golf courses on these pages but none I have read would offer anything close to an apt description of the Old Course at Lahinch - it has everything. Lahinch is a brilliantly strategic golf course, there are blind shots but on each one the landing areas are expansive enough to keep them fair, the bunkering is fantastic and all of the greens brilliantly contoured except the par 5 18th which, in a stroke of exquisite simplicity, is pancake flat providing a chance for matches to be seized and cards to be improved with a well struck putt on the last. The Top 10 of these rankings are traditionally dominated by the links of the Open rotation as understandably they have an added stigma and history as tournament courses and because they are regarded by "those that know" as the best tests of golf. Lahinch combines a sterling test of golf with a character and fun that is often lacking elsewhere and for me comes only from playing in a truly natural, dune infested links playground. No other course I know of combines these two facets so brilliantly. Places like St Enodoc and North Berwick have the charm but lack length or consistency in regards to the quality of golf hole, whilst County Down, Waterville, Hoylake, St George's and other courses on the Open rotation are undoubtedly great courses but frankly aren't half as much fun to play as Lahinch. Ballybunion may get close to achieving this combination but it is let down by a couple of weak early holes. Lahinch has 18 crackers, all of which are great golf holes in their own right and where the amazing views, elevation changes, towering dunes, rolling contours and endearing quirks add not only to the overall experience but more importantly are integral to the course itself and the way you are forced to play it. It is comfortably the best course I have played in the UK & Ireland and I would be very surprised if anything displaces it. From the top courses I have left to play, I have high hopes for the Ailsa at Turnberry and may reserve the "best of the best" tag until that too has been "ticked off" but even if there are one or two better tracks in the UK & Ireland then there certainly aren't many more than that. In summary, if you can find a place where a golfer will feel more invigorated by both his surroundings and his sport than when standing on the rolling links of Lahinch I will be very surprised. By all rights this is, at the very least, a Top 10 course and for my money anything outside the Top 5 would be an injustice.
November 06, 2006
10 / 10
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Cedric
March 16, 2007
Great review!!Totally agree....Lahinch shares my n.1 spot with the Ailsa too,as well as RCD and Muirfield!
alex
Quite simply the best pure links golf course available. Top of the Irish Charts. Pure jazz. She is a lady of immeasureable charm and character. Lahinch will leave you in a trancelike state as she reveals her wonderfully soothing tracks and delightfully devilish dancefloors. This is golf at its best. Cajun also wanted me to say, "The green bible is a courseplanner of note". The ultimate links golf experience. A belter.
November 06, 2006
10 / 10
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Luke Willmott
This is a ‘must play’ course of the highest order. Having played all the top seaside courses in the North West and Northern Ireland, I believe Lahinch is head and shoulders above them all and is definitely my favourite. I’m sure my enjoyment had something to do with the weather – warm, clear skies and not a breath of wind. The Old Course, like all links courses would be an extremely tough test with the wind whipping in off the Atlantic.Think links golf, think blind shots, pot bunkers, sea views, sweeping beaches, heavily undulating fairways and greens, Lahinch has the lot and goats! This is classic links golf at it’s best, the stretch from 2 to 8 being particularly note worthy. For ‘old school’ links fanatics, you cannot beat holes 4 and 5. Four, a short par 5 with your blind second having to head straight over a large sand hill to a green tight to the road. Followed by the blind par 3 fifth with the green tucked away within the dunes is quintessential links golf. Forget about the cost of the green fees, go play and enjoy, and pray for some good weather.
July 22, 2006
10 / 10
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KKelly
Lahinch (old) is quite simply the perfect golfing experince. It's got it all.Breath taking scenery, friendly staff and it's steeped in history. It's a golfers paradise.
July 12, 2006
10 / 10
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andyj
Wow, what a golf course. I played here this week and I can say that the combined package of the course and the views is spectacular.A very enjoyable experience from the minute you sign in. Expensive at 145 Euro but the little details like the fact that the course planner is included are a nice touch.
July 02, 2006
10 / 10
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W
Played it in May 2006. A good course, but I am not bothered about ever going back again. One or two par 4s are stupidly long and a you need a hard hat walking off the 18th tee in case a ball comes flying over the huge hill to your right (towards the 4th green). No, nothing special
May 31, 2006
6 / 10
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