Members of the Black Watch Regiment of the British Army set out in the early 1890s to identify a site amongst the great sand dunes of southwest Ireland that would be a suitable tract for a proper links golf course. Interesting to note that their first choice was the site where Doonbeg now sits, but at the time the railroad did not go close enough to make it feasible.
Their second choice was the area where the famed Lahinch Golf Club is now situated. The original nine-hole Lahinch golf course was laid out and played in 1892. With the success of that effectively homemade layout, they brought in the most famous golf architect of the time, Old Tom Morris, to design a new links course. As soon as he saw the dunes that south Ireland golf is famous for, he declared it. “…the finest natural course he had ever seen.”
Old Tom’s routing opened for play in 1894. While two other world renowned golf architects, Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Martin Hawtree have also left their mark on the Old Course, two of Morris’ original holes “Klondike,” the 4th a 475-yard par 5 and the world famous 3rd “Dell”, a 154-yard, basically blind par 3 remain relatively untouched since they were first played in 1894.
Dr. Mackenzie’s main contribution in 1927 was making many of the green complexes into triple-tiered masterpieces. Requiring an accurate approach shot to the correct level in order to score. MacKenzie took the lessons learned at Lahinch and went on to design equally highly regarded courses around the world including; Augusta National, Royal Melbourne and Cypress Point.
In 1999, Martin Hawtree, the R&A’s ‘go-to man’ for Open Rota course tweaks and redesigns, was brought in to modernize the Old Course. He brilliantly rerouted four holes into the dunes closer to the Atlantic Ocean, rebuilt 16 tees, and completely reshaped 14 green complexes back to MacKenzie’s original intention, while leaving “Klondike” and “Dell” untouched.
The result is Lahinch is now continually rated among the Top 50 courses in the world on most prestigious rankings and their collection of par 4s is considered the finest in Ireland.
Be sure and be on the lookout for the famous Lahinch goats who double as weather forecasters. If the forecast for the day is fair, they will be found on the course, if the day calls for Irish liquid sunshine, they tend to congregate close to the clubhouse.
For a great 36-hole day, play Lahinch Golf Club’s second course – The Castle, named after the ruins of the 14th century Dough Castle on the site. While not as challenging as its sister course it has all the attributes of a true links course with wonderful views and fabulous greens that won’t break the budget.
Lahinch is a private club with a large national and overseas membership that graciously allows limited visitor play. Interest over the years has grown tremendously and in order to avoid disappointment we suggest planning your visit at least a year ahead of your visit.
Play Lahinch Golf Course as part of a South West Ireland golf tour. Include Ballybunion, Waterville, Old Head and Tralee, on a golf package filled with the best coastline golf courses that South West Ireland has to offer.
6 nights accommodation and 5 rounds of golf
Prices starting from $4,100
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