The exact date of origin of the game of Golf in the Ballyliffin area is difficult to pinpoint, but it is rumoured to be after the end of the II World War around 1947. Work on the 'new' course began in 1970, which is what we now know as the 'Old' links. At first 9 holes were prepared for play and eventually by 1973 eighteen holes were in play. Eddie Hackett who was the golfing architect attached to Bord Failte, visited the course on several occasions and helped to lay out the playing holes, although it is true to say that two English architects visited the course as well and gave their views on how it should be laid out. They were Lawrie and Pennick. In the final analysis, the course which emerged, perhaps took something from each of them, and quite a few suggestions from Martin Hopkins were incorporated in the final pattern.
The official opening of the New Clubhouse in 1987 perhaps symbolically represents the point when the sleeping giant that was Ballyliffin Golf Club, exploded onto the golfing map of the world to take its place amongst some of the greatest courses in the world. From this historic moment the Club would never look back; Ballyliffin Golf Club suddenly became a business that necessitated careful management. From 1987 membership numbers mushroomed, green fees almost tripled and the numbers of societies playing increases to the point where they had to be regulated. It is a success story that would undoubtedly have been beyond imagination a mere 3 years previous to the opening of the New Building.
The Old Links undulates in the glory of its natural terrain, presenting an immensely enjoyable challenge to every golfer. Work recently undertaken by Nick Faldo, one of Europe’s most successful golfers – with victories at the US Masters at Augusta, The Open and on Ryder Cup Teams, has resulted in an Old Links that has been refined and what is now a fantastic golf course. The Old Links hosted the European Seniors Tour in June 2008 - The Irish Seniors Open.