Barassie Links is the Championship layout at Barassie presenting a challenge for even the best golfer.
The course offers a mix of the old and the new. Nine holes from the original course and a new nine built in 1997. Four sets of tees – Red, Yellow, White and Blue – offer a graduated challenge taking the course length off the back tees to more than 7000 yards.
Visitor enjoyment will be maximised with some knowledge of the course and we would strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of the Pro Guide from the pro shop before your round. A little bit of advance information however never does any harm, so you can have a look at what’s ahead of you online.
The first hole at a touch over five hundred yards should on paper provide a straight forward opportunity to open up well and for low handicappers can provide a good birdie chance – but then again it is the first!. With the removal of the trees, which lined the right of course, out of bounds, whilst well right, comes more into play for the cold swing and the well placed bunkers on the right come into play all too often. If you find sand with first or second shots the hole becomes problematic.
Best drive is slightly to the left of centre with a second shot aimed over the brow of the hill. Depending on wind direction the hole is anything from a short iron to a fairway wood. The green is guarded short left and front right by bunkers with the one in the right catching more approaches as the green runs off towards it. The first can be frustrating and if you walk off the green with your scorecard in place you can be quite satisfied.
Out of bounds still technically exists down the right but you’ve got major swing problems if you find it! Bunkers left and right provide potential for trouble off the drive as they will invariably mean laying up short of the burn for your second. The fairway slopes away heavily to the left and distance can often be lost leaving a longer than desired approach to the green.
For the longer hitter a strategically placed iron off the tee will often give a better result and route into the green. It is a difficult green to hit surrounded by four bunkers and a steep drop off at the back. Depending on your line in the green can look very narrow. Short can be a safer bet. This is a testing par four so early on.
This hole has over the years probably been responsible for the early wrecking of many a scorecard. Out of bounds is tight on the right although there is a fairly open target on the left. A shot too far left however will lose distance and close down the green. From the back tee a mighty drive and excellent second is normally required to get home in regulation. Often playing short of the burn is the only option for the less brave.
The green slopes to the right and two bunkers await and although on the left the slope from the tee above can often provide a welcome kick into the green the heavy gorse provides a heavy risk. On the traditional course this hole was justifiably Stroke Index One. It is a cracking Par Four.
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. Excellent par three with ample opportunity for disaster.
From here the view across the new holes is at its best and the difficulties ahead can be seen. The fifth isn’t particularly long nor should it be particularly hazardous but depending on the wind direction it could be a short iron or a dunt with a fairway metal. The punitive rough down the left has been thinned out but the run off area on the right has been tightened with a bunker.
The approach to the green is covered by a grassy bunker just short and slopes off to the left. Clubbing is important but being straight off the tee is critical. The greens again provide a challenge.
The key addition to this hole has been the creation of the Blue Tee which sits way back in the corner and changes the dynamic of the hole completely. Best left to those who know better!
Another short hole that on paper should be straightforward. The hole is roughly the same length as the fourth but plays in the opposite direction. A medium iron should fly the ball to the front of the green with the contours doing the rest. Too much club and the down slope may see you through the green in sand; a little left and you could find yourself in sand; a little right and you could find sand!
The right is covered by another bunker which will invariably leave you with a very fast bunker shot down the slope. The green is heavily contoured and from the right hand side provides you with an extremely testing downhiller. It is a good par three to come away with; it is also equally possible to take five.
This is the first of the doglegs on the new nine holes requiring not only the correct distance and shape of drive but also the confidence to hit a long iron or wood into a tight green. The dog leg goes right with the short cut protected by a mound and heavy rough. A drive to the left could run out of fairway and certainly leave a longer approach shot.
The fairway from the driving landing area is shaped between dunes right and left. The green itself is fairly open although there is a slope which will take a slightly wayward approach to the left into a tricky position for a chip back. To the back left is a small bunker. Right hand side of the green is banked with mounds making for a difficult pitch from that side of the green. One of the most difficult holes to achieve par regardless of wind direction.
Double dog leg par five offering little chance of getting home in two for anything less than the bravest or bigest hitters. A drive avoiding the two fairway bunkers – one left, one right – opens up an approach into the second half of the fairway. The safest route is into the middle of the second dog leg corner avoiding the bushes lining both sides of the fairway. One club too many for the second shot could leave the ball on a tricky bank, a pull or a push finding bushes right and left.
From the centre of the fairway it’s a medium to short iron (wind allowing) into an extremely difficult green. Not only is it guarded front right by a tight bunker but anything top left of the green is subject to a wicked down hill putt. Safest option is to play to the left hand side of the green with the slope bringing the ball back into the middle.
This is a dog leg left with an extremely dangerous drive. The hole has a number of teeing grounds which change both the distance and direction of the drive. Newly placed left hand bunkers cut off all but the longest off the tee from taking the short cut. The bunker at the outside corner of the dogleg has been added cutting off that escape route as well. From a well placed drive the second shot to the green provides an attractive target to hit.
The slope runs uphill front to back and the ball can bit hit straight at the pin and will stick. Bunkers left and right make direction important. Leaving an uphill putt is recommended as the swing and speed downhill can be difficult to guage.
Another dogleg left which is all the better for some of the changes made to it since it was first created. More than ever the hole requires the right position from the shot off the tee; it is possible with the right wind to cut the blind corner to the green but at great risk. For the majority a drive or iron into the centre of the dogleg avoiding bunkers left, right and straight ahead will do it. A longer drive over the left hand side bunker will normally find a playable lie in the rough over the fairway. For some a medium long iron will put the ball in A1 position for the short iron approach into the green.
The approach is one of the more straightforward on the course but the perspective on the green makes clubbing a little more difficult with many underclubbing. A new competition tee has been built adding an extra thirty to forty yards to the drive making a different hole. A good scoring hole is often expected but beware the drive.
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 in the bushes to the back of the green.
Long – and straight – the twelfth is a monster requiring length and accuracy to hit a three-club, two tiered green. There’s out of bounds and a menancing bunker to the left off the tee. The right now has three bunkers in a row set up to catch anything going even slightly awry from the driver.
In addition a new back tee has been added increasing the length by 80 yards to that of a Par Five.
If the drive is straight and long the second shot will still require a good hit with long iron or more likely wood and then there’s the danger of whins and gorse on the left and bunkers on the right. The green is long and narrow and runs of to the front right. The two tiered green can leave you with arguably the longest putt of the day – bad enough if looking for par, worse if its trying to save a bogey. Rated by many as the best hole on the course.
The walk brings the golfer back to the original course and the old 6th hole. The carry across the burn shouldn’t be too difficult but simply by being there invariably causes problems. At the shortest point the carry is perhaps 125 yards but the temptation to shorten the hole is strong and can lead to water. Bunkers strategically placed on the left can catch longer straighter drives.
The green is well protected with a large mound with an inset bunker short left while another bunker guards the right; the burn snakes around the side and back of the green and is still very much in play. The green itself is probably the flattest on the course. Good driving hole which can set up a short approach.
An already fairly lengthy par three has had a third teeing area added to make it 201 from the back tees. Clubbing is very much dependant again on wind direction and tee position. Four bunkers two right and two left protect the front while anything long will run into a gully at the back leaving an horrendous downhill putt. The pin position on this hole changes the shot dramatically with the consistent item being that the putt will move one way or another. It’s a great par three to get under the belt.
Another relatively long par four with bunkers left and right off the drive. The right hand bunker catches more due to the fairway taking everything towards it. Aiming left of centre is therefore critical but too far left and the approach to the green will be closed off and you’ll be looking at going over a bunker. The green has a humpback entrance to it and resembles a bowl. If the ball can be put to the top of the hill before the green it will roll down towards the centre of the green.
Deep bunkers short left and right will catch slightly loose shots. The key to the second shot is clubbing. Anything short will be held up by the hill leaving a tricky pitch and run to the flag. Too long and the ball may find rough a few yards over the back.
Par five which when played downwind offers a good chance for a birdie. It also offers the opportunity for a seven. The temptation is to let rip for what appears an open fairway. Let the ball slide in either direction and the bunkers – two on the right and one on the left – become magnetically attractive off a deceptively humpbacked fairway. The punitive left hand bunker at two hundred yards in particular is to be avoided and bushes left and right will ensure three off the tee for the more wayward.
The second shot is through the gap with mounds left and right. Again fairly straightforward but problematic when taking out a fairway wood and trying to belt it. Bunkers in the middle of the fairway and one to the left can catch out those going for the green in two whilst the greenside bunkers particularly the one on the right will catch any ball with the approach and green running off towards it.
Long thin green on two tiers can leave an extremely long and difficult to read putt. Good birdie opportunity but not without its difficulties.
Two extremely difficult finishing holes. The seventeenth has disaster written all over it with two extremely well placed bunkers left and right and another further up on the right for the longer drives. Heavy gorse booth sides of the fairway can ruin any scorecard whilst the approach to the green is long and tight. The green has no greenside bunkers but instead is guarded with two sand traps short on the right and to the left, in addition there is a mound short and left which can cause havoc with approach shots.
The green is relatively flat but is edged to the left by an undulating gully and to the right with mounds. Finding the mounds leaves a tricky shot from light rough. Really great par four hole.
An extremely challenging final hole with a dogleg right. The shot off the tee is partly blind with two cross bunkers ready to catch those cutting the corner and another shorter to the right. Those playing safe to the left can either run off into the rough or the well placed bunker on that side of the fairway. Either way it will leave a longer shot to the green at the top off the hill. The run of the approach to the green will naturally take shots to the left more often than not towards rough or greenside bunker or just off the side of the heavily sloped green.
The right hand side is not without its own perils with a small but vicious hollow capable of pushing a good shot into sand. If the green is going to be missed arguably best to make it right and long. The green is relatively large with three tiers to negotiate. It is a super hole to finish with leaving no time for contemplation of the nineteenth.