Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club
Kilmarnock Barassie Golf Club is situated along a special part of the Ayrshire coast that is bustling with quality links courses. Bordering Western Gailes and only a five-iron punch shot from Royal Troon, Barassie is in good company.
The course itself is a mixture of old and new, although the quality of the layout is constant throughout. This unwavering pedigree has helped Barassie secure Open Qualifier status as well as hosting a raft of prestigious R&A tournaments. This emphasis on consistency reaches its peak on the greens which are among the best playing surfaces you’ll find.
“What we’re looking for is true, consistent greens from the first hole right through to 18,” says Brian Finlayson, links manager at Barassie, “and it’s got to last for the full week of the tournament. That’s what we’re trying to achieve and that’s what the Championship Committee is looking for – consistent, firm and true greens.”
To satisfy the R&A’s exacting criteria, Finlayson uses Hugh King & Co’s TD50 topdressing and Washed Dune Sand to create unfailing surfaces that maximise playability and minimise disruption for members. “The consistency of the sand from Hugh King & Co is excellent,” he explains. “The benefit is you always know that what you’re putting on the course is the right material for what you want to achieve.”
At Barassie, the slightly courser Washed Dune Sand is used to supplement the medium-fine sand and traces of soil that constitute the TD50 mix. This winning formula has been the staple for the Ayrshire course for 25 years. Throughout this time, the steadfast quality of Hugh King & Co’s sand has meant Finlayson’s team are able to apply it safe in the knowledge it will integrate into the turf quickly and readily.
“We dust the greens from spring through to the middle of September with a spinning-disk top-dresser which applies about half a tonne of sand onto the green,” Finlayson says. “It’s a very fine dusting, and once it’s been brushed in a couple of times, it’s ready for play. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
With up to 180 tonnes of TD50 and 150 tonnes of Washed Dune Sand applied annually, Barassie’s greens, fairways and tees drain easily despite the West Coast’s reputation for rainfall. Interestingly, Finlayson explains this by using a recurring theme that has become a linchpin in his approach to golf course management.
“Because of the consistency of the sand year-in, year-out, we don’t have any problems with ponding on the greens. The consistency means the water infiltrates through the root zone. In fact, we’ve had one of the wettest summers ever and we’ve had very few problems,” he says. “It would have to be a torrential thunder storm for us to lose any play. The quality of the sand is second to none.”