The South of Ireland Championship
In 1895 Alexander Shaw, one of the founding fathers of Lahinch Golf Club donated the first cup for the South of Ireland Golf Championship. The “South” is an open amateur event and the oldest provincial golf championship in Ireland. In the early years many of the competitors came from the British Isles and when Fred Ballingall from Glenalmond in Scotland won the Championship for the third time in 1900, he was allowed retain the original trophy. In 1901 Alexander Shaw presented a second South of Ireland Championship Trophy.
With the exception of the period 1914 to 1919 (First World War) the trophy has been competed for every year at the famous Lahinch links. A number of players who went on to become Professional Golfers and represent Britain & Ireland in the Ryder Cup won the event.
These include John O’Leary, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Graeme McDowell. Padraig Harrington was twice a beaten finalist. John Burke, Lahinch’s most famous golfing son, won the trophy a record eleven times. He won his last “South” title in 1946 defeating Joe Carr in a dramatic final.
The last local player to win the Championship was John D. Smyth in 1968. A unique atmosphere pertains at every “South” as the top Irish amateur golfers join many overseas contenders and strive to win the most famous trophy in Irish amateur golf.