Andy Marshall PGA Professional’s Top 10 Courses in Ayrshire
Barassie Links – or Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club as it’s known was founded in 1887 – with the original design of 18 holes by Theodore Moon and only recently the club have added another 9 holes giving you 27 holes of play to test you! The Barassie is now a serious test of golf – nine holes from the original course and a new nine built in 1997 – with four sets of tees, Red, Yellow, White and Blue offering a graduated challenge measuring in at almost 7000 yards from the back tees against a par of 72 with a Standard Scratch of 74 telling its own story……
Within striking distance of Royal Troon, Prestwick and Turnberry, the course is an Open Championship Final Qualifying venue with a well-deserved reputation for some of the best maintained greens in Scotland. The Club has twenty seven holes with which to test the golfer, complemented by first-rate facilities in the clubhouse and professional’s shop. Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club offers everything golfers would expect from a Scottish seaside golf course; challenging fairways and greens as well as a friendly, welcoming membership.
There are several holes which can test all golfers and in my opinion 2 of the best holes are:
The 4th hole – Arran – A 159 yard par 3. A walk through the pines opens up into the new nine holes and provides a glimpse of what’s to come and also brings the first par three of the day. The fourth is challenging; no room to the left due to the burn and a sleeper edged green. Only one greenside bunker and small hillocks to the right and rear make hitting the green a little more difficult.
Depending on wind direction the club choice can be from a seven to a three iron and once on the green the difference in breaks becomes noticeable. An excellent par three with ample opportunity for disaster…….
My next favourite hole is the 11th – Brodick – a par 4 of 439 yards – An extremely tough driving hole. Heavy rough left and new wonderfully placed bunkers pushes the golfer to the right; too far right and the approach to the green becomes difficult. This is the third dog leg left in a row and without doubt is the toughest of them all. Once you have negotiated the tough drive, the second shot has heavy rough to the left and bushes around the green to the right and rear.
It is extremely easy to find trouble off the second shot and on reaching the green the trouble hasn’t let up. There are uniquely for the course no greenside bunkers but to the front Barassie’s own small valley of sin causes problems for the approach and a club too much could be enough to put the unwary golfer in the bushes to the back of the green.
Barassie Golf Club is not as well known as some other local courses but is a gem that should be on your ‘must play list’…..