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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Sam Hendrix
I am amazed at the high ranking this course gets. It was the most disappointing course we played in three trips to Scotland and Ireland, and nothing else was close. The routing of the holes is convoluted and bizarre. I love golf in this part of the world, but truly this one baffles me. (The Dell hole was cool.) When you have to put a lad on the hillside to direct traffic as holes cross one another, you have a mess. I expected to see a windmill hole, and get a free game if I birdied 18. You won't do it, but I suggest you leave this one off your itinerary. A day looking at castles with the wife would be better.
May 10, 2006
1 / 10
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John
November 06, 2006
Anyone true golfer who would rather spend a day looking at castles rather than playing Lahinch is a fool. This is one of the world's finest examples of links golf perhaps only bettered by Ballybunion's Old course in all Ireland. No idea why it took you three trips to Ireland to realise that you didn't like the course. Perhaps the castles were closed those days?!
Richard Smith
Playing golf at Lahinch is about as good as it gets. Lahinch is everything a links course should be. There are fast running fairways, beautiful dogleg par fours with demanding tee shots, driveable par 4's, and of course the quirky yet fascinating par 5 Klondyke and the blind par 3 Dell. Klondyke and Dell are truly wierd holes, but to me they are part of what makes links golf such a challange and such a difference from what we experience in the USA.The course is a great challenge from the uphill first, especially if into the wind. The downwind holes are no bargain, and you need to carefully plan your strategy on each shot. I"ve read where they are actually renovating part of the course, which only makes me want to return and see what they have done.I've only played two rounds at Lahinch, but this is a course I where I would love to be a member and play every day.Richard SmithKnoxville, Tennessee
April 26, 2006
10 / 10
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kaz
This very well could be the number one best/greatest golf course in the world.Period!!It has "the hand of a geat architect A gorgeous, seaside setting A long and storied historyIts earned the nickname "The ST. ANDREWS of Ireland for good reason
January 14, 2006
10 / 10
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Richard Smith
What a great course! From the challenging first hole with it's steeply banked approach to the fast running downhill second, this course never fails to challange and delight the player. The blind shots of Klondyke and Dell add to the amazement, as do the goats. Lahinch is intimately associated with the town and you have the very real sense that the course is part and parcel of the community. This course demands solid play, but is visually pleasing and most of all it is fun.The members are wonderful. A member of our community got stuck in Lahinch during September 11, 2001, and they allowed him to play for free while he was waiting to get a flight back to the United States. This short of friendship exemplifies the best of what golf is all about, and I will take every opportunity I can to return to Lahinch. Don't miss it!
November 20, 2005
10 / 10
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Fred Hammer
From the moment you step up from the parking lot onto the first tee you know this is a serious golf course as you are surrounded by the pro shop and trophy room and watched by many people as you attempt to calm the nerves and drive uphill onto the links. Unfortunately, this course is famous for the Klondyke and the Dell, the two most overrated holes in the world outside of the Road Hole. What it should be famous for is the best collection of par 4's in Ireland, along with County Down. This is the best course in the Southwest, and reason enough to fly to Shannon. Outstanding layout, tradition galore, very good condition, and totally memorable and engaging.
October 12, 2005
10 / 10
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Keith Baxter
Played the Old course last month and thoroughly enjoyed it, a really memorable experience which started with a beautiful sunrise and the ferry across the Shannon. The course is very traditional and typically Old Tom Morris. Much has already been said about the 4th and 5th holes, but seeing really is believing and it takes you back to the days when blind shots were commonplace. Lahinch should not be missed.
October 09, 2005
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
This is really really good – some stunning holes starting as early as the 3rd – blind drive over a big dune and a tough approach. The 4th named ‘Klondyke’ is a classic …. short par five with a blind second shot. Fortunately a marshall stands on top of the dune as your guide – without this charming touch, you would be all over the place – brilliant. Next hole is another blind tee shot – par 3 over yet another dune into The Dell – classically different but wonderful. The course starts well, is great in the middle and finishes well – Lahinch makes a welcome entry into my top 10 courses played. AN.
September 29, 2005
8 / 10
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Cédric
Played the Old Course at Lahinch on a breezy day in september,with just a few drizzles from the sea.Lucky enough weather wise. I got my tee time moved 1 hour earlier which was perfect as the forecast for the afternoon was pretty bad.Lucky enough also to have oversea members from the US playing with me and telling me all about the layout as the stroke saver was no longer available. This was just the best day out playing golf!Played under my handicap and this course is just superb. I thought my model in this area would remain Doonbeg but I must say it has been beaten,the kind of defeat you remember for all your life!! All this to say that Lahinch is now my favorite of this area and I have played all the best,including Ballybunion.Had a big smile all day long and didn't want it to end.... And for 63 euros and some cents,student discount,this is just a bargain.Really understand why it has been set in 3rd position in the top100 book.played earlier this summer at Royal County Down,number 2,but the weather conditions were pretty bad.So I suppose I will have to return to Newcastle to fully be able to compare those 2 giants...But I suspect the difference is going to be very very slim....Cédric
September 08, 2005
10 / 10
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Shaun
Second time I have played this great golf course. Superb layout, very friendly clubhouse but the day sadly spoilt by poor greens. A must visit golf course though.
June 07, 2005
8 / 10
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Alastair Chrystal
What a wonderful testing golf course. Lasting memories are the tee shot on the third where you have to carry about 230yrds at 30ft high just to get on the fairway, the 6th is a killer straight into the Atlantic wind and there are a barrage of long par fours on the back nine that make getting to the 19th more of a physical challenge than you could ever imagine. Great conditions,hugely challenging weather, friendly staff at the course and wonderful layout make this an absolute must if you have the opportunity to play golf in southern ireland. The only negative is Americans who for some reason insist on taking photographs of each and every shot.
October 26, 2004
10 / 10
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