Murrayshall visit proves inspirational for SRUC students

Matt Curtisin Golf

Students in Golf Course Management from Scotland's Rural College based at the Elmwood Campus in Cupar, Fife, were recent visitors to the Murrayshall Country Estate in Perthshire to learn more about the transformation of its two golf courses into US-style challenges.

As part of a vocational training program set up by SRUC to emphasise the importance of the wider ecology of golf course property rather than focus on traditional fine turf areas, a group of ten students and their lecturers spent time with Murrayshall's Head Greenkeeper Darrin Urquhart and five members of his team to gain some useful insight into the workplace.

"It was the first time that the group had been to Murrayshall and we were all impressed by the high standards of turf care being achieved with relatively limited members of staff," said Ian Butcher MBA, the Program Leader & Senior Lecturer in Golf Course Management at the SRUC's Elmwood Campus.

"Darrin explained how he and his team are producing surfaces that combined playing quality with presentation, as well as meeting the diverse expectations of club members wanting different levels of difficulty or features from the course. And in additional to the playing areas, they undertake specific developments such as walkways and viewing spots for non-golfers to enjoy. This wider perspective of the estate as whole was very useful to share with our students and every member of Darrin's team was on the same page regarding the Murrayshall brand.

"I've been fortunate to play Murrayshall before and from a Scottish landscape experience, it's hard to beat. But with the attention to detail and refinements now being seen, these qualities will only be enhanced into a truly memorable round of golf and a first-class parkland experience in a true Scottish setting," he added.

According to Darrin Urquhart, who has been at Murrayshall over the past 14 years, the visit also served to give college graduates an insight into the work needed to transform a conventional parkland course into a US-style layout with white sand bunkers, smaller greens and surrounding rough. "They won't have seen courses like these in this part of Scotland before and it's one of the distinguishing features that sets Murrayshall apart, so we were really pleased to show them all around," said Darrin.

The 365-acre Murrayshall estate offers golfers a challenging 18-hole Championship course and the nearby 10-hole Lynedoch course, ideal for those wanZng to play a quick round, or juniors and those new to the game. It also features one of the most picturesque driving ranges in the country.