Kilmarnock (Barassie) - Ayrshire & Arran - Scotland

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club,
29 Hillhouse Road,
Barassie,
Ayrshire,
KA10 6SY,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1292 313920

  • Donald Wilson

  • Theodore Moon

  • Gregor Howie


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Kilmarnock (Barassie)

Local Scottish rhyme

“A prodigious assemblage of courses,” wrote Bernard Darwin in, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, as he recounted them pell-mell as they came into his head. “As one approaches Prestwick, the train seems to be voyaging through one endless and continuous golf course.” It's true, there's a galaxy of excellent links courses on this relatively small stretch of Ayrshire coastline. Kilmarnock Barassie is one of the least well known, but it's one of the best.

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club is located a couple of miles north of Troon, directly opposite the Barassie railway station. The club was founded in 1887. Theodore Moon originally designed the course, and it started out in life as a full 18-hole layout. Recently, the club added nine new holes. These new holes, and nine from the original layout, now form the Barassie course, which is used for Open Championship Final Qualifying. The spare 9-hole course is now called the Hillhouse. Confused? Well there's only one thing for it, you'll need to play all 27 holes and you can do this in a number of ways, but we won't go into it here.

The Barassie is now a serious test, which measures in at 6,817 yards from the medal tees against a par of 72. The SSS of 74 tells its own story. Rebecca Hudson won the Ladies' British Amateur Stroke Play Championship here in 2001. Her score - 300 strokes over the four rounds - turned out to be the highest winning score since 1988. This course is indeed a tough cookie and you'll need a full repertoire of shots to play to handicap.

This classic links course has everything - great conditioning, humps, hollows, undulations, blind shots, lightning fast greens and, above all, a great atmosphere. Whatever you do, don't rush past Kilmarnock (Barassie) on your way to play Royal Troon. Play here beforehand. You won't be disappointed.

Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club hosted The Boys Amateur Championship in 2010 and then the club initiated a programme of course changes in preparation for the 2012 Scottish Stroke Play Championship. Click here for more details.

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Reviews for Kilmarnock (Barassie)

Av. Reviewers Score:

The Barrasie Links at Kilmarnock Golf Club is an extremely fine and well-presented golf course. It’s also a superb test of every part of your game and has a real consistent feel of quality to it.

Located on the outskirts of Troon on Scotland's West Coast the Club has an extensive history and dates back to 1887. The course is an Open Championship Final Qualifying venue to boot and has a well-deserved reputation for some of the best maintained greens in Scotland.

The Club has been host to a number of other quality events in recent years and in 2016 the R&A Junior Open Championship will be played here.

The course very much reminded me of nearby Irvine and Gailes Links in style; set slightly inland these courses have wonderful terrain that ebbs and flows effortlessly providing all the challenges and vagaries of pure links golf. The land may not be as dramatic as some of the coastal courses in Ayrshire and you do not have that inspiring connection with the sea yet the masses of heather, gorse and other broom give Barrasie Links an undeniable charm.

As for a test of golf you will struggle to find a sterner yet truer test than the 18 holes here. From the white tees the yardage is 6,852 and par is 72 (SSS 74) but there is also a set of blue tees that are not on the main scorecard which must stretch the links to in excess of the 7,000 yard mark. Big golf is certainly required here but so are finesse, guile and imagination.

Although I didn’t get to play the Hillhouse course on my visit you do get glimpses of it during the round. The sixth looked a very impressive hole as did seven and the green complex at the fourth was sensational. This is nine holes I will definitely make an effort to play on my next visit to Ayrshire because from what I saw these holes look as good if not better than the main course.

Kilmarnock would certainly make for a superb day of golf. Few would be disappointed with a nine-hole knock in the morning on the Hillhouse followed by 18 on the Barrasie Links after lunch.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

April 21, 2017


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The opening hole should be an easy par five with its length being just 509 yards. You need to keep away from the right which is a wall of trees bordering out of bounds and the bunkers on both sides of the fairway at driving distance.

I felt one of the weaknesses at Kilmarnock Barassie is that there are no standout par threes. The 155-yard 4th is the best of them. The green is slightly raised and has just one bunker which is front right, whilst the left is edged with sleepers.

Index 1 is the 439-yard par four 7th hole. A very accurate drive is essential as the fairway doglegs at around 230 yards. If you cut the right hand corner you hit a mound with heavy rough but if you are a little too far left then you can run through the fairway.

The par four 13th is an attractive hole, particularly when the gorse is in full bloom. A burn runs in front of the tee and then along the right of the fairway. If you play safe by being too far left then you might find a large bunker at the 227-yard mark.

The home hole doglegs right and requires a semi-blind drive. You need to keep a little right but if you stray too far right there are three bunkers. The green is large and has three tiers and just the one bunker on each side at the front.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every Scottish course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
May 01, 2015


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Dr J Taylor Hill
November 15, 2015
Barassie Links is firmly amongst the ranks of the toughest courses for girls and ladies anywhere in Scotland. It is officially rated 6th most difficult course from the ladies tees.
Had the privilege of making a return visit to Barassie after an interval of several years. A lovely spring day and a glimpse of the eclipse on the drive down to the coast whetted my golfing appetite. Was Barasssie as good as I remembered? Emphatically, yes! It is a terrific links golf with NO weak holes at all. I have only played the 'new' layout so can not compare this with the traditional design but I find the entire course scenic, challenging and extremely enjoyable. The tough opening two holes set the tone and there is no let-up thereafter. You simply must drive well here. There are bunkers galore, burns and gorse to gobble up any wayward shots. So many good holes; the pick are the 3rd, the delightful short 4th, the double dog-leg 8th and the wonderful 15th but there is no hole at Barassie that raises the eyebrows. Rounding off the perfect Scottish links experience is the busy railway line with the sea behind it! Having played West Kilbride and Irvine Bogside the previous week I have no hesitation in ranking Barassie above them. It is, in my opinion, right up there with Gullane, Machrihanish and a couple of others as a 5-ball course. At a winter rate of £100 for a fourball (no mats or play from the semi-rough) what a fantastic day out at the seaside!
March 21, 2015


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NICE course and a NICE Club, unfortunately when we went they had recently hollotined (however you spell it ?!?!) the greens and they were shocking to play onto and on, BUT that was just time of the year and I am sure the result of that work will mean great greens later in the year when I would hope to re-visit.
April 08, 2013


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There is no doubt Barassie is a decent course but a "classic links" it aint. Personally I wish they had kept the old course and spent the money on lengthening it. As it stands it's a course of 2 completely different characters with a loooong walk from the old holes protected by the trees to the new ones (3d to the 4th and equally between 12th and 13th). Saying that, the new holes aren't bad and certainly the more linksy ones on the course. Yes there are a couple of severe doglegs but some nice testing holes as well. The problem is that you can clearly see what could have been done with more funds when you drool over the man made dunes at Dundonald.That's my main criticism of the course that they sacrificed the old layout in order to lengthen the course to allow for Open qualifiers etc, but they didn't spend enough to integrate the new holes and to make them as good as the rest. Don't let this review scare you away from the course though! This is a fine test of golf and I'm only trying to point out that this could have been almost a 6 ball course if they had concentrated on improving what they had. The good news is of course that with the new layout there's a nice 9-holer to zoom around when you don't have time for a full 18.
July 26, 2012


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Played on a nice spring day at £99 for a 4 ball and first impression is that it is a well maintained links/parkland course with good greens. The only criticism is that it is let down by a bland 18th hole and some severe doglegs around the turn. These appear to be in place purely to protect the course from long hitters, however, only succeed in making the holes "gimmicky" and novelty like in my opinion. Good service, food and reasonable prices in the clubhouse. Definitely worth playing for ~ £40. Not as good as its neighbour Dundonald and slightly behind Glasgow Gailes also.
March 29, 2012


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A course of two halves to my mind with the holes nearest to the clubhouse more parkland in aspect with the genuine links holes sandwiched between the 3rd and 13th. Both aspects of the course are very good in their own way and hang together very well as an interesting whole. Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThe start should in theory be relatively straightforward but with a railway all the way down the right of the 1st those prone to a rightside miss will be fretful. The links holes are all old-fashioned in design making good use of plateau greens (4th), doglegs (extreme in the case of the 10th), and increasingly narrowing fairways (12th). The mounding facing the 7th tee is a classic example of links golf’s ability to confuse the eye and to incite the golfer to adopt a bold strategy, when a more cautious shot will suffice. From the 13th onwards (with the burn in play for the entire length of the hole) the course transforms into a very good quality parkland track but with an 18th hole of only medium quality, oddly distant from any clubhouse window. Fortunately, when enjoying the good food and warm hospitality in the casual bar you can at least watch those finishing up on the 9-hole course, especially the juniors and their nerveless short games who are so lucky to be learning the game at this rather pleasant club.
December 12, 2011


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Apart from this course being a final Open qualifier on numerous occasions it shoud be noted that it is one of(if not the) best golfing "facilities" in the UK. It has 27 holes all of championship standard as all 27 have been used for the Open qualifying. I have played all teh courses aroound Troon and in my view this represesnts the best for golfing experience. In addition the catering facilities are renouned. All in all perhaps the best there is.
December 06, 2010


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I have played golf at Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club for nearly twenty years and as a British Open Final Qualifying Course, it richly deserves this prestigious privilege. A true links course which plays different every time you play it, particularly with the constant changes in the weather and wind in this region. A truly tough test that requires the golfer to think his way around the course. Phenomenal conditions, great layout and design, and a challenge all the way around the course. All that a golfer will want from a great golf course.
August 13, 2009


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I know this course well, and have seen it change over the years, especially with the addition of a new nine holes. This extension, to my mind, was a mistake. Firstly ,the existing 18 was, while short by modern standards, a very playable, sporty layout. The new nine has added a lot of length. This was necessary if K(B) was to keep Open qualifying. However, the egos of the committee at the time overcame them, and with a lowest handicap of 13, they designed the new nine themselves. The flaws are obvious - particularly unnatural moundings, too many sharp dog-legs, and the 6th is awful, with too much luck involved, especially down-wind. Some of the worst excesses have been modified, ensuring the course is improving, and it is usually in very good condition. The club is very friendly with a good reputation for producing great junior golfers, and it is a decent test. Worth playing if your in the area, but probably not worth going out of your way for.
October 30, 2007


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