Murrayshall Country Estate
Situated just 4 miles from the centre of Perth, Murrayshall Country Estate is a tranquil oasis of calm and relaxation with a 365-acre playground for golf and walking.
The only sounds you will hear are the birds singing, the sound of golf balls hitting trees, oh, and the occasional greens mower. The estate is almost 2 miles from the main road and as you travel along the country road to Murrayshall, your only thoughts are of nature and keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic.
As you drive into the estate, you are greeted with a driveway that winds its way uphill giving you views of manicured golf holes until you come round a bend to the visually stunning Seventeenth-Century Country House that is now the hotel. Built in 1664, the house and estate belonged to the Murray family for over 300 years. Stellar Asset Management purchased the estate in 2018 and they have invested heavily in the golf courses and hotel since then.
Murrayshall has 28 holes, the 18 hole Murrayshall course and the 10 hole Lynedoch course. The courses opened in 1981 and were designed by Hamilton J. Stutt, the grandson of the foreman to the famous Scottish course designer, James Braid.
The championship rolling parkland course measures just under 6500 yards off the back tees with a par of 73. That might sound generous but with tree-lined fairways, elevation changes, numerous bunkers and water hazards, it’s a stiff test of your accuracy, both off the tee and the approach shots to the greens. There are 6 par 5’s, the longest of which is 520 yards. Four of these holes play downhill so get it in the fairway and there are plenty of opportunities for birdies.
At first glance, the 18-hole course at Murrayshall looks hilly. That’s because, from the hotel, you look down the hill and see four holes laid out in front of you. However, I found it to be a good course to walk, not too difficult or tiring.
The Front Nine
The front nine has an excellent variety of holes. The first is a strong 400 yard par 4 which plays uphill. You have to position your tee shot in the right side of the fairway to have a clear approach shot to a green that’s above you. Judging the second shot is key to starting with a par.
The 2nd and 3rd holes are par 5’s, play these as 3-shot holes to give you the best chance of pars.
The par 3 4th
The 4th is the first of five par 3’s. It plays slightly downhill and there is a pond in front of the green. It shouldn’t be in play unless you try to get too cute in playing to a front pin location. Holes 5 thru 7 are all par 4’s of under 400 yards.
The 7th is the most difficult of these. It’s an uphill par 4 which doglegs to the right. You need to get your tee shot in the right half of the fairway to have a shot to the green, which sits above you. Go too far left and your approach shot is blocked by the trees.
The 8th green
The 8th is another lovely par 3. It plays downhill through an avenue of trees. Don’t take on the pin if it’s on the right side as it’s protected by a massive tree which overhangs the green.
The 9th is a quirky par 5. The tee shot is severely downhill and the hole doglegs right. You could possibly cut the corner by hitting the driver but you can’t see your ball land. Better to play a medium iron off the tee to the bottom of the hill, then take it from there. I know there are plans in place to change this hole and make it a straightforward par 4 but I liked the fact that it made you think about what to hit off the tee. Maybe I am getting more risk averse as I get older…
The Back Nine
The 10th green
The 10th is a short par 4 with the 2nd shot played to a small tiered green. The fairway slopes from left to right so laying up on the fairway is key. Take enough club for your second. Fail to do so and the pond below the green awaits.
The 12th is another uphill par 5 which 2 good shots will give you a birdie opportunity. It’s not often that the 13th is the last par 4 on the course but at Murrayshall, it is. I don’t think I’ve ever played a course with a hole pars of 3, 5, 3, 5, 3 to finish. Both par 5’s play downhill. Find the fairway and there’s a chance of hitting the green in two for an easy birdie.
The 14th hole
The par 3’s in this closing run are not easy. On the 180 yard 14th, the green sits at an angle across you and is narrow on the left side. If the pin is there, play for the centre of the green.
The 16th hole
The 212 yard 16th has a long narrow green with bunkers left and right and the green slopes back to front. It will take an accurate tee shot to find this green.
The finishing hole
The 199 yard 18th is similar to the 16th. It has a narrow green and is protected both short and right by bunkers. The bunker on the right sits below the green so getting up and down from there is difficult as you may not be able to see the flag.
Murrayshall Course Recap
The Murrayshall course is a challenging par 73 off the back tees and a bigger challenge off the yellow tees as the par reduces to 70. The course was in excellent condition when we played it. The owners continuing investment will only strengthen their ambition to climb into the top 25 golf resorts in the UK. In our opinion, Murrayshall is well on its way to achieving that goal. Thank you to Clarke Lutton, the Head of Golf at Murrayshall for guiding me around the course and for his great chat, company and chipping tips.
While the Murrayshall course is a relatively easy walking undulating course, if you play the Lynedoch, we recommend taking a buggy even though it’s only 10 holes. Built around the perimeter of the main course, this course is challenging and hilly.
The 1st green
The opening hole is an uphill dogleg to the right. It’s not a long hole but it’s tricky. It gives you a flavour of what’s to come. Leaving the green you walk around the houses until you come to the second and the start of the holes that play up, down and across the hill above the hotel.
The 2nd green
The only straight hole on the Lynedoch is the 2nd hole. The hole is defined by the second shot which is over a gully to narrow green surrounded by trees and bushes.
The 2nd shot to the 4th
My favourite hole was the 4th, a short dogleg par 4 where the second shot plays downhill to a small green. You have to position your tee shot in the right half of the fairway. It can be difficult to judge your wedge shot to the green. Better to be short than long. Long gets you into all sorts of trouble.
At a Glance:
- 18 hole and 10 hole courses
- Driving range and short game practice area
- 2 onsite restaurants, one fine dining
- Well stocked proshop
- Fantastic views
- 17th Century hotel
Luxurious Country Hotel
The original building and more recent extensions
Although the original building dates back to 1664, the hotel has had a number of renovations over the years.
Eolas Restaurant and lounge, the library and Cairns lounge and bar
The most recent renovations have taken place in the last 5 years and it’s now a mix of modern, stylish interiors with occasional hints of its historical past. The library, lounges and restaurants are comfortable, airy spaces to relax, drink and eat. There are also a couple of function suites and a smaller lounge for private dining parties.
The bedrooms in the main building are larger than normal with large en-suites. The bed was really comfortable and we had a lovely seating area in front of the window.
Our room view of the 18th green and beyond
Our room overlooked the 18th green and we had a cracking view across the Perthshire countryside.
The Cairns bar/restaurant is the main daytime lounge and is the one most used by golf members and visitors. There is also an outside terrace for those who prefer their food and drink, before or after golf, al fresco. The varied menu here was your normal golf club fayre with a few exceptions.
Eolas (pronounced Olas) is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. There are a couple of menu options available. A 5-course tasting menu, with or with paired wines, or an extensive al a carte menu. We chose from the al a carte menu and the food was exceptional.
Our food: Quail breast and leg in a Miso broth. Highland Venison loin with red cabbage and a chocolate and hazelnut jus. Pork fillet with cabbage, bacon, apple and celeriac tart and a grain mustard sauce and an Apple crumble soufflé with clotted cream ice cream and a caramel sauce. Cooked to perfection and with wonderful flavours. Eolas is an award-winning restaurant and we now understand why. It was a wonderful experience and we can’t wait to go back. Eolas is also used for breakfast for hotel guests.
We believe Murrayshall will become one of the top 25 golf resorts in the UK very soon. It’s already an excellent resort and with the plans and investment of its owners, and the drive of GM Gary Silcock, and his staff, it will happen sooner rather than later.
The challenge is balancing that ambition whilst remaining a friendly, inclusive and accessible club for its members and their guests. We wish everyone at Murrayshall every success in achieving its goals. Thank you to Murrayshall’s Sales and Marketing Director Calum Crichton for arranging our visit.