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Murrayshall, Jacobsen and Fairways GM

Attempting to carve your own identity in Scotland’s long and famed golfing tapestry is no easy task, but at Murrayshall Country Estate, their new approach is getting noticed.

Gary Silcock’s arrival as General Manager in September 2020 brought with it the idea for a new unique selling point: present a US PGA championship-style course in Perthshire. Achieving this would entail harnessing the spectacular hillscape views and combining them with a golfing challenge not available anywhere else in Scotland.

To date, the progress has been impressive. Murrayshall was placed 34th in National Club Golfer’s Top 100 Golf Resorts in GB & Ire 2023 whilst Golf World reviewed, “If Gleneagles isn’t in your budget, you would be well advised to look here.”

Being mentioned alongside one of Scotland’s leading golf resorts is a strong mark of progress, with Gary familiar with what’s required to elevate a club to that level. Gleneagles is listed among his former prominent leadership roles alongside La Manga Club and The Belfry, with his greenkeeping-conscious management style now paying dividends at Murrayshall.

The aim of bringing the US style to the 18-hole championship course has taken equal measures planning and execution. A seven-figure Jacobsen fleet deal with Murrayshall owners, Stellar Asset Management, saw machinery provided to all three clubs in the Stellar portfolio, and for Gary giving the greenkeeping team the tools they wanted now will guarantee results in the future.

“Simply put, we want the quality of our product to continue flourishing, and that is why we went with Jacobsen,” Gary explains. “The machinery plays a part in us moving up the rankings, and we’ve only achieved that because of the ability of the greenkeeping staff and the equipment we’ve invested in for them.

“We focused on Jacobsen, and that was the winning result because the machines fit the product, the quality of cut and the backup service for us with Fairways and the clubs down south with TH White. The service was an essential part of the decision-making.

“Darrin Urqhart, our course manager, knows what we’re trying to create with the rough lengths and surrounds, and the mowers are crucial in that journey.

“We cut the greens in a way to make them pop and stand out when you’re looking over the course. Jacobsen and the Eclipse have a reputation for the best cut on the greens, so that was a major part of it.

“In terms of why we invested in machinery now, it’s at the forefront because developing and changing a course takes a lot of planning and work. You have to put that in first to see the rewards later.

“The plan is for us to be a top 25 golf resort in the UK, so we’re moving in that direction with the investment. We’ll start to see that in the coming years with the new spa, the leisure club and lodges etc. When all of that is ready, the golf course will be where we want it to be.”

The Murrayshall Estate is home to both the Murrayshall and Lynedoch golf courses. Architect J. Hamilton Stutt sympathetically used the natural contours to shape the 18-hole Murrayshall championship course as it meanders through 365 acres of tree lined fairways, undulating parkland and several natural burns which are used to protect the large greens.

With the plan taking shape, attention to detail is now the difference maker. All of the bunkers have been put back to white sand, there are no collars, so you play straight from rough to green, and the routing of the course has been tailored with the topography to take advantage of the beautiful views whilst taking players gently uphill.

What comes next following the submission of a £30 million masterplan, including an extension to the hotel, new spa facilities, lodges and a solar project, will be a significant step forward.

Every aspect of the Murrayshall experience will reflect the outstanding natural beauty that surrounds it, and in doing so, will attract guests, golfers and tournaments the world over to a truly unique Scottish golf resort.

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