In March 1892 Alexander Shaw, Richard Plummer and a number of officers from the Black Watch Regiment of the British Army went to the west coast of Clare in search of sand dunes that would be suitable for the development of a golf course. They discovered Lahinch and during a second visit in early April, laid out a links golf course.
The first game of golf was played at Lahinch on Good Friday 15th April 1892 between Lieutenant William McFarlane of the Black Watch Regiment and William F. McDonnell, a Limerick businessman. Feathers and sticks were used to mark out the course. The original course had nine holes on each side of the Liscannor Road.
In 1894 Alexander Shaw invited Old Tom Morris, the celebrated Scottish golfer, to design a new links golf course. Old Tom Morris placed great emphasis on the sandhills side of the links. He said Lahinch was “the finest natural course he had ever seen”.
In 1926 the services of world renowned Golf Course Architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie were sought and plans for a new 18-hole course were agreed. In his report to the Committee, Dr. MacKenzie stated that, “Lahinch will make the finest and most popular golf course that I, or I believe anyone else, ever constructed.”
A new Clubhouse was built in the 1940s’. The 2nd World War also saw a drop in the number of visitors coming to the Club but, once again, the Club survived. Careful nurturing of the links golf course ensured the enduring attraction of Lahinch to its members and visiting golfers. The 1946 South of Ireland Championship Final between John Burke and Joe Carr was perhaps the most famous “South” final.
It ended with Burke winning on the 39th green.