Lahinch Golf Club – a wonder of the golfing world

Lahinch Golf Club on Ireland's Wold Atlantic Way
Lahinch Golf Club on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Even at first glance, it is obvious Lahinch is not just another seaside town.

Golf is woven into the fabric of this otherwise unprepossessing village on the County Clare coast. It feels like it’s on the lips of a everyone in town, in the craic. It’s in the pubs (one of which is called the 19th hole) and restaurants, it’s wonderfully unavoidable.

Why? Well, it’s because the churches, shops, pubs and homes of this charming place of 700 or so people sits just a pitching wedge to the south of what is a truly stupendous golf course.

The famous goat a Lahinch Golf Club
The famous goat at Lahinch Golf Club

Lahinch Golf Club is a mythical destination for golfers all around the world. It’s a place of impossible beauty, challenge and, above all, adventure. It’s a calling, a pilgrimage for many. And nothing about it disappoints.

Despite its standing, there is no air of pomposity or privilege. There are no gates or walls to prevent people from getting in. The opposite is true, in fact. Local kids could be found practising on the putting green on the day we played: learning the game, laughing with friends, being made to feel this club somehow belongs to them. The warmth and humour of staff was only exceeded by the pride in belonging to Lahinch. Who can blame them?

This, after all, was the venue for the 2019 Irish Open, won by the Spaniard Jon Rahm. The tournament came to this part of the world not because Lahinch bid for the right to host it but because Ryder Cup legend Paul McGinley asked the club if it would do him the honour of hosting the tournament.

A view of the 4th green at Lahinch Golf Club
A view of the 4th green at Lahinch Golf Club

This course is no stranger to the greats of the game. For years, they have flocked here ahead of The Open Championship, to acclimatise, practice and get the feel of the game. Mark O’Meara was a regular visitor in the 90s, Jim Furyk, and Greg Norman too. Phil Mickelson is an overseas member and Tom Watson, who has done so much to enhance the reputation of links golf in these parts, is too. But golf is always changing.

Paddy Keane, Lahinch Golf Club’s charming general manager, comes out to meet us before our round. He is a busy man with a vast to-do list but he is also clearly a man bursting with pride to represent his club.

The town sits right behind the 2nd green at Lahinch Golf Club
The town sits right behind the 2nd green

The bond between place and golf club is something you see a lot in Ireland. The grand private clubs of the United States or England tend to want to protect their exclusivity. But on the links of Ireland, at least, community and every day town life are bonded together as one. But few do it as effortlessly as Lahinch Golf Club. And it only adds to the allure.

The Irish Open here was an event for the many, not the few. It touched, in some way, everyone who lives here, not just those who work at the club or even play golf.

And so to the golf. What of it? The practice area across the road from the 1st tee is beautifully set up, even if it is only to tune up your short game. The starter is a real character, a bundle of energy, barking instructions that are both important and useful as you prepare to get going. I remember thinking I wish I had recorded a video on my phone of what he said but it was marvellous nonetheless. The rain stopped just as we began our round. And didn’t return again until the 16th tee.

The opening hole is a gentle start, a 373-yard par 4, with room to miss the fairway on either side, which I duly did. The par 5 2nd is an excellent hole at 523 yards, shaping downhill off the tee and to the right. But it feels like the course really begins on the 3rd.

Beyond this tee, slate grey and whipped into foam flecks by the stiff westerly that blew straight back into our faces, is the Atlantic Ocean. Red flags, standing to attention on a lifeguard’s turret, a playground filled with children sits just the other side of a fence. This is the kind of tee shot where you stand over your ball, screw up his eyes and hit towards the narrow, dune-flanked fairway up and over a mound. All carry. No easy way out.

My tee shot, for once, was perfect. Bounding down this 418-yard par 4, to within a 7-iron of the green. The putting surface sits below the fairway and behind it the ocean awaits, it’s a picture perfect golf scene. The next two holes, Klondyke and Dell, are unique and charming.  Klondyke is a reachable par-5 at 472-yards. You tee off with the waves of Liscannor Bay crashing behind you and must land your ball between the dunes and into a deep, narrow valley. From there, you are faced with a towering dune in the centre of the fairway – the Klondyke.

To reach the green you need to hit it over the aforementioned dune, where a hardy man will stand with a red flag or a green one telling you when the green ahead is clear. When it’s wet or wild he retreats to a small shelter that clings to the far side of the dune. Who can blame him? We visited before the world’s best arrived for The Irish Open. When I ask the man with the flag if he will be there too, he replies with a wink ‘I’ll be playing in it!”

The 5th green at Lahinch.

The 5th is equally whimsical. Dell, a 148-yard par 3 requires only a short iron or wedge for most, but there’s no flag or even a green visible from the tee. You hit at the directional rock atop the steep dune right in front of you, then walk through a gap to see where your ball came to rest on the shallow green, enclosed on three sides. The caddies will often look on from higher ground to watch shots come in and have even been known to cheer as if the player has made a hole in one, placing balls in the hole while golfers walk toward the hidden green. Beware.

The opening 11 holes at Lahinch Golf Club are as good as anything you will find anywhere in the world, with the greens at three, six, seven, eight and eleven all within near sight of the ocean. The par 3, 156-yard 8th is a stunning hole. One of many. The par 5 514-yard 10th is another tremendous hole, shaping around the beach where river turns to sea.

The dunes frame many fairways at Lahinch

The 13th, a driveable par-4 at 279 yards, is another wonderful hole, with towering dunes and a dip on the right of the fairway that eats up wayward tee shots and makes par a huge challenge. From the 14th tee on, the course settles down a little and you know you have left the best of it behind. Not every hole can be as good as the opening 11 at Lahinch Golf Club, which are indisputably some of the most beguiling in all of links golf. It is generally thought that the front nine here and the back nine at Ballybunion Old just up the coast, would make a course unbeatable anywhere in the world. It has to be said, Lahinch itself comes close to that boast all on its own.

The clubhouse after the round was abuzz. Great characters and storytellers, recounting their best shots, drinking away their worst but everyone to a man, woman and child, toasting Lahinch. I will count the days until I return. And I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who has the opportunity and means to go.


Phone Number:  +353 65 708 1003
Old Tom Morris, Alister MacKenzie and Martin Hawtree.
Cost:  €201 to €160
Where it ranks: On the first page of any list of repute.
Length: 6,613 yards from the white tees. Par 72.

Lahinch golf club scorecard

Lahinch Golf Club scorecard
Lahinch Golf Club: where to stay

Lahinch Coast Hotel and Suites, Lahinch
Lahinch Coast Hotel and Suites, Lahinch

The Lahinch Coast Hotel & Suites
A wedge from Lahinch’s beautiful Blue Flag beach and a short walk to the golf club, this hotel puts you right in the heart of the village. Co-owners John and Bríd O’Meara took the reins just prior to the 2019 Irish Open here and brought with them a total redesign and stylish new look to the entire ground floor. The rooms are comfortable, modern and well-appointed. The food is good too – a ‘Gastro Style menu’ is served in the Aberdeen Bar and Restaurant, while the breakfast is hearty. You’re right in the thick of Lahinch’s many pubs and restaurants which come alive in the evenings making it a perfect base golfers and for those looking to explore the Wild Atlantic Way.


The restaurant in the clubhouse at Lahinch is excellent for food and drink, but if you want to venture into the village you can’t go wrong with The Moy House features, which has a modern menu with Irish influences built on amb, duck, game, lobster and shellfish. Once the food has gone down, walk across to Kenny’s Bar on the main stretch, a block from the golf course. From there proceed up to Kettle Street for a uniquely Lahinch experience at Frawley’s Bar, where proprietor Tom Frawley has been singing and pulling the Guinness for over 80 years.

Lahinch Golf Club: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Where is Lahinch Golf Club located?

Lahinch Golf Club is located in Lahinch, County Clare, Ireland. The address is Lahinch Golf Club, Lahinch, County Clare, V95 WK29, Ireland.

How do I book a tee time at Lahinch Golf Club?

Tee times at Lahinch Golf Club can be booked online through their official website or by contacting the pro shop directly. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak seasons.

How much are Lahinch Golf Club green fees?

Lahinch Golf Club green fees vary depending on the time of day, day of the week, and whether you are a visitor or a member. For current rates, please check the website or contact the club directly.

Can non-members play at Lahinch Golf Club?

Yes, non-members are welcome to play at Lahinch Golf Club. Visitors are encouraged to book tee times in advance and adhere to the club’s dress code and etiquette.

What is the dress code at Lahinch Golf Club?

Lahinch Golf Club has a smart-casual dress code. Collared shirts, tailored shorts, and appropriate golf shoes are required on the course. Denim, football jerseys, and beachwear are not permitted.

Are caddies available at Lahinch Golf Club?

Yes, caddies are available at Lahinch Golf Club. It is advisable to request a caddy in advance when booking your tee time. Caddy fees are separate from green fees.

Can I rent golf clubs at Lahinch Golf Club?

Yes, Lahinch Golf Club offers rental clubs for visitors. It’s recommended to reserve rental clubs in advance to ensure availability.

Is there a practice facility at Lahinch Golf Club?

Yes, Lahinch Golf Club has a practice area with a driving range, putting greens, and chipping areas. It’s a great place to warm up before your round.

Are there any accommodation options near Lahinch Golf Club?

Lahinch has a range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts. The club’s website may provide recommendations or you can explore local accommodations based on your preferences.


Lahinch Golf Club Course Map

The founder of The Wandering Golfers, Ben grew up on the links of Scotland learning the game from his beloved Grandpa. Previously a writer and broadcaster for The Times and BBC


  1. Thank you for another great article

    • It’s pure magic, Dan. Thanks for your comment

  2. Thank you for this article, we are heading over in September and Lahinch is the final course on our itinerary. Can’t Wait!!

    • Wonderful, Joe. You will absolutely love it. Promise. Where else are you headed on the trip? Let us know if we can help recommend any other places to play?

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