After Prestwick, we are going to continue along the Ayrshire Coast of Scotland. Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Course is often overlooked as it is situated between the more famous Royal Troon and Turnberry. However, the course does play as a final qualifying stage when the Open Championship is played at one of these two layouts.
Just a few miles north of Prestwick and Troon, Kilmarnock was founded in 1887, however the course that is playable today is on land that was acquired in 1894. Today, the course is 27 holes with a variation of 9-holes giving golfers an always-different challenge. Barassie is the signature 18 though. Similar to Prestwick the course is adjacent to railway tracks making access fairly simple.
The Jubilee Book recounts the history of the course. Here's the original layout.
The clubhouse is beautiful and is a fit location for your nineteenth hole. A dress code is required. During the day, regular golf attire is permitted. However, past 6:30pm jackets and dress pants are required.
Great place for an after round drink
In contrast to Prestwick, Kilmarnock is relatively long (the back tees play at 6,484 yards). If you factor in the dreaded Scottish winds, well it can feel much longer. As befits most Scottish courses, the greens on this links are undulated and nicely kept.
The first hole is a nice introduction to the course. Named ‘Kilmarnock’ this 501 yards par 5 is pretty straightforward but a great way to start your round. Birdies are often possible. Well, that depends on the wind.
Hole 1 - 'Kilmarnock'- A nice introduction
‘Dundonald’ is the eight hole - a double dog leg par 5 of 539 yards. This serpentine design makes this hole a tough one to reach in two but it’s a great challenge to try. A difficult green welcomes you with open arms as you try to walk away with two putts.
Hole 8 - 'Dundonald' - Double dog leg
The last hole on the front nine is called ‘Gailes’. At 380 yards, this par 4 is a nice test as bunkers guard both sides of the fairway. One side making long hitters guess themselves as they attempt to cut the corner, the other side punishing drives that are simply too long.
Hole 9 - 'Gailes'
The thirteenth hole is named ‘Butcharts’. This is the original course’s sixth hole. This hole leaves the player with decisions to make off the tee. At 377 yards, this par 4 requires the player to decide how much to cut off from the opening shot. Hit it long and too much to the left and your ball will be greeted by unforgiving bunkers, while the over zealous player deciding to aim for the right side of the fairway might find the creek.
Hole 13 - 'Butcharts' - Precision is key
Hole 15 is named ‘Adam’s Gate’ and is noticeable for its humpback entrance to the green. A ball landing on the top of the hill will feed to the center of the green. Land it on the downhill and well, see where it ends.
Hole 15 - 'Adam's Gate'
‘An extremely challenging final hole’ is how the course description reads for ‘Fullarton’. The eighteenth at Kilmarnock is a 370 yard par 4 dogleg. The difficulty comes off the tee as the shot is blind. The advice given by the local pro is to play short. However, this will leave you with a long shot into a three-tiered green. Balls naturally feed to the left of the green, which is guarded by a bunker. Right is a bad spot to miss too as a bunker awaits your pushed shot.
Hole 18 - 'Fullarton'
The course also features a par 3 course. So if those 18 weren’t enough go ahead and test your short irons on this fun layout. Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club is great however often overshadowed by Royal Troon and Turnberry nearby. This makes a great course to play as a warm up to the nearby neighbors.
Have you played Kilmarnock ? Share your memories with us!