Long before they ever stood on a surfboard at Lahinch, the game of golf had been played amongst the wispy dunes adjacent to the beautiful strand in Lahinch, County Clare. Indeed, it was Old Tom Morris who laid down the first routing of the course in 1892 but regrettably today, the only hole from his efforts that remains is the par three 5th hole called ‘The Dell.’ Astonishingly the course that Old Tom created lasted a mere fifteen years before some members of this relatively new club decided to update the course!
Englishman George Gibson was called upon to make the necessary amendments, which most significantly resulted in some additional holes on the side nearest to the Atlantic. However, it is neither Morris nor Gibson whose footprint is as closely associated with the modern-day Lahinch Golf Club as it is the great Alister MacKenzie. This former doctor, come, camouflage expert, significantly enhanced his burgeoning reputation to such a degree, that he went on to design Royal Melbourne, Cypress Point and of course Augusta National among others. MacKenzie’s distinctive design characteristics that included the use of natural terrain and undulating green complexes were somewhat lost in the mid-1930s through course alterations, but the club then decided in 1999 to return the course to the design of the original master.
The man charged with fulfilling this task was Martin Hawtree, upon the promise that he would produce a “restored MacKenzie course,” but one that could also adapt to the challenges of the modern game. It took him almost four years to complete the task, but it is generally recognized that Hawtree delivered upon his word. Only four of the greens that Hawtree inherited remained untouched. He added three new par-three holes, and a further four holes were significantly rerouted or redesigned.
Despite the changes, the updated MacKenzie/Hawtree design is a masterpiece that receives global acclaim and deservedly so. The standout holes at Lahinch Golf Club are the par three’s, but in particular, the 11th which although is only 158yds long from the medal tee requires pin-point accuracy. This famous links hosted the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open in July 2019, a significant recognition that the modern-day Lahinch is suitable and capable of hosting even the best professional tournaments in the world. When the professionals have long since departed, Lahinch will again welcome visitors alike from around the would you seek it out on their golf vacations around Ireland, many of whom, we at The Consummate Pro are delighted to send in that direction.