European Golf Vacations

Why Everybody Plays Lahinch on Their Ireland Golf Vacation

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<center>From the tee, the green at Lahinch's Dell hole is completely hidden from view.</center>

From the tee, the green at Lahinch

More times than not, when you hear someone rattling off names of the golf courses they’ve played, or are planning to play, during an Ireland golf vacation, Lahinch is on the list. But why, exactly, is this course a perennial favorite?

Well, it doesn’t hurt that Lahinch is one of the most convenient courses to play when you’re on a southwestern Ireland golf vacation. It’s located only about 30 miles from Shannon Airport, which handles the bulk of air traffic to that region. 

More than convenience, however, Lahinch simply has it all: a dreamscape of rough and tumble duneland, exhilarating views over Liscannor Bay, and a succession of varied and compelling holes that can test players of highest rank (Phil Mickelson once called it his favorite links course) while simultaneously gladdening the hearts of rank amateurs.

For example, the 401-yard 3rd hole, which requires a drive over a 30-foot high dune while avoiding a terrifying ravine lurking to swallow the mere suggestion of a pull; and the par-three fifth hole, called Dell, an Old Tom Morris original. Its green is tucked away in a little natural amphitheater between two imposing sandhills, one walling off the front of the green and the other back-stopping the rear. As the green is completely hidden from view from the tee, the hole can conjure up a variety of thoughts and emotions, including trust, hope, luck, triumph and despair, all in a mere 145 yards.

The course has other charming, quirks, too, not the least of which is its own version of a Doppler weather forecasting system…comprised of four or five goats. When they huddle at the clubhouse, it’s either raining or about to rain. If they remain out in the dunes, you can expect to stay dry.

You just don’t find things like that on most American golf courses and it’s a big reason why Lahinch is such a popular place to play on an Ireland golf vacation. So, if you’re looking for an old, authentic Irish golf experience, we suggest making it part of yours.

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8 Comments

  1. Tom R.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Get up to date with your information…. the goats have not been around for years!. TR

  2. Craig B.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Actually, TR, the goats were out there on our visit in May 2006 and a call to the club this morning confirmed that they’re still there. Doubtful Lahinch would ever be without them given that a goat is part of the club’s logo.

  3. Jim B.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Was there this past August and the goats are definitely there, got a picture with them hanging in my office. Lahinch was an absolute treat with some of the most picture perfect golf holes you can imagine.

  4. Larry

    July 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Visiting Lahinch was one of the highlights of my golfing life, which started about 60 years ago. Remembering my trip in 2004 is like remembering an old girlfriend. It’s brings back great memories. And, I’ve played Pebble Beach, Spy Glass, multiple TPC courses including Sawgrass and the Woodlands, Doral’s Blue Monster, Bandon Dunes,Crystal Downs, Balybunion and many others. Lahinch is right up there near the top.

  5. Steve B.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Lahinch is a magical place to play – the people are friendly & the course challenging

  6. Chris M

    September 8, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Goats were removed during the hoof & mouth concerns back in early 2000’s, but wonderfully, as noted they have returned. As to the course itself, it used to be fantastic: it ran through and over dunes, the undulating fairways mirrored the waves of the Atlantic to the west, and all holes are buffeted by the ever changing winds. Then, they remodeled the course, keeping the history of Old Tom Morris and restoring the crowned greens of Alistair MacKenzie, plus added two better holes to replace two, and now you have an awesome course that has been strengthened significantly. Put it on your must play list and I think you’ll want to go again.

  7. David W

    October 7, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    The goats were present during the first week of August 2009

  8. Craig Better

    October 7, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve heard of a gut-check; I guess this is a goat-check. Thanks, David.

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