Cruden Bay (Championship) - North East Scotland - Scotland

Cruden Bay Golf Club,
Aulton Road,
Cruden Bay,
Aberdeenshire,
AB42 0NN,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1779 812285

  • Golf Club Website

  • 23 miles N of Aberdeen

  • Welcome weekdays – advisable to contact in advance

  • Les Durno

  • Old Tom Morris, Archie Simpson, Tom Simpson, Herbert Fowler

  • Neil Murray


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Cruden Bay

Some say golf was played at Cruden Bay way back in the 18th century, but Cruden Bay Golf Club wasn’t formed until at least 100 years later. Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson were commissioned by the Great North of Scotland railway company to design the course and it opened for play in 1899. In 1926, Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler remodelled the layout. Little has since changed.

Cruden Bay HotelThe railway company used pink granite to build a luxurious hotel at Cruden Bay, which was nicknamed “the Palace in the Sandhills”. They hoped for the same success as at Gleneagles, but sadly, in 1952, the hotel was demolished. Money was tight in the 1950s and the club and course almost fell by the wayside until three local businessmen stepped in to save Cruden Bay from extinction. A new clubhouse was built in 1961 on the same spot as the hotel but that, too, has disappeared, making way for the present 1998 clubhouse.

Cruden Bay is an inspirational golf course, regarded by some as quirky and considered by others as a masterpiece. Either way, this is a thrilling place to play golf because the designers used the original lie of the land to fantastic effect. Rugged linksland, pebble-dashed with sand dunes as high as three-storey buildings. Elevated tees cut high into the dunes, humped and hollowed fairways bumping their way along to punchbowl greens, nestling in attractive dells. And all set against the backdrop of the steely North Sea.

The 193-yard par three 4th hole is called Port Erroll and is described in A Century of Golf at Cruden Bay as follows: “Thus named because the Water of Cruden runs along the left side of the fairway, with the old fishing village of Port Erroll on the opposite bank. The harbour is itself visible in the near distance. This is one of Simpson’s best par threes and one of Cruden Bay’s best holes. Playing straight towards the sea (and often into the wind) from an elevated tee carved out of one imposing sandhill across a deep grassy hollow to an elevated green carved out of the facing sandhill. The tee shot must carry straight and all the way to the green – it is serious business, indeed.”

Tarald suggested we mention that on July 30th 1914, heroic pilot Trygve Gran took off near the 3rd or 4th holes at Cruden Bay and flew from Scotland to Norway, becoming the first person to fly across the North Sea.
Cruden Bay winds its way in a figure of eight through towering dunes. Many of the holes are secluded from each other by the sandhills, enabling that wonderful feeling of intimacy. There are panoramic sea views, a stunning beach, driveable par fours, blind drives, back-to-back par threes. That’s entertainment.
If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Reviews for Cruden Bay (Championship)

Av. Reviewers Score:

This course is an absolute delight to play. From the moment you enter the property you are made to feel like you are part of the family. The views from the clubhouse must be the best in the UK certainly. Food and drink is well priced and the service is tremendous. The course itself is such a mix of amazing holes which are just loads of fun. It's not long but this doesn't mean that it's easy. There are superb views available all over the course and several quirky holes make it unique. I love the diversity of the place. I love the all out craziness of the layout. I love the feeling I get when I go there. I just love this place and I would urge everyone to go and have a knock there.

April 13, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Definitely in my top 10 golf experiences in terms of fun golf in a stunning setting. The beauty of the course starts at the par 3, 4th and stays the whole way round except hole 9 cannot be dressed up in any other way except to link the two nines. The back 9, edges the front in respect of wow holes (10 and 12 to 15). Just a brilliant golfing experience.

April 04, 2017


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review

In my experience, it is the unexpected discoveries that end up making traveling for golf such an intriguing endeavor. Unexpected and unique, such as the sui generis Cruden Bay Golf Club, located along the Aberdeen coast in Scotland. When I first walked to the end of the parking lot and looked down on the course I was startled; it was unlike any golf course I had ever seen. The course defies being pigeonholed; it is one-of-a kind. Golf at its simplest is a game, and I think we sometimes lose sight of that fact.

The world of golf has much sterner tests than Cruden Bay, but for pure fun it cannot be beaten. The course would be ranked number one in the world if having fun was the only criterion utilized.

When I first played Cruden Bay early in my golf travels, I experienced what the French call coup de foudre, which translates into “a thunderbolt,” or more accurately, love at first sight. There is something about Cruden Bay that brightens your mood. It made me see golf through the eyes of a five-year-old—everything is exciting, there is a sense of discovery around every corner, life is good and full of promise, curiosity abounds.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

November 08, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review

WOW !!!!

Super friendly helpful GM, pro shop, marshalls, starter, bar and catering staff - thank you to all of you !

From the minute you arrive in the car park you can see what a cracker of a course it is - nestled in behind the dunes.......and the best bit is that that is NOT even the best bit - what you can see mainly is the nine hole course as much of the main course heads out through and over the dunes. (didnt play this but it looks a cut above the average nine hole second course)

The main course is a wonderful classic TRUE LINKS course with a stunning variety of holes and challenges and breathtaking views (and climbs) to get the heart racing.

WELL WORTH A VISIT

Amazingly it has hints of Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart, Kingsbarns, Trump International etc all rolled in to the 18 holes.

Fantastic Clubhouse views on a par with Crail or Royal Aberdeen.

WANT TO GO BACK AGAIN !!!

September 18, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Oh yes, finally I did it again. After some years of absence I made the trip to Cruden Bay again. Seven years ago I played that enchanting course. I picked up the game of golf just one or two years before that trip and picked Cruden Bay by pure coincidence, the decision only influenced by a nice picture I saw. Ever since, I had this fantastic course on my mind. The great dunes which encapsulate most of the holes and separate them from each other, the perfect view over the far end of the course from the tee box of the 10th, the quirky doglegged Par3 15th: Everything has been written about that course. But you can't really describe it, you have to be there.

A word about the quality: A member I met on the course apologized for the wet condition of the course in April which made me smile, since that course was -despite two or three small puddles- in a wonderful condition.

This course is so special and I enjoyed a wonderful day of golf there, including long conversations with the staff and members. Especially, when strange new developments like the Trump thing are around the corner, everybody who loves golf should be a visitor here at least once! Royal Dornoch is my only six ball rating here, yet. But Cruden Bay deserves that, too - even when, due to the mediocre 1st, 17th and 18th hole, it may be only a 5.6, which rounds up to six.

May 02, 2016


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Cruden Bay is one of the best golf courses in the world. For my taste it is the perfect balance of classic quirky links and some slightly more modern golf holes (at least in style and how they play). Also, if you like your golf served with a stunning ocean view, Cruden Bay won't disappoint. Top priority for Aberdeen visitors, before Royal Aberdeen or Trump.
November 03, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Played Cruden Bay on a wonderful morning at the beginning of July. Heard very good things about this course and always wanted to play it. Overall has been a very pleasant experience as is a fun course to play. A real links, some blind shoot, not too long, some very spectacular hole with great views of the sea. At the same time, having played mostt of the top courses in the British Isles, I have to say is a little behind courses such as Dornoch, Portrush, Turnberry. Trump International and Royal Aberdeen are also one knotch above in my opinion but nevertheless if you are in the Aberdeen area is a must play.
August 09, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Could well be the best course I have ever played. I love dunes, views, quirkiness, blind shots and Cruden Bay has them in abundance. A few weeks prior to playing I had a game at Felixstowe Ferry and I mentioned I was going to have a game at CB to the pro shop bloke. He said the best thing about the course was the views as the course is only average. Wow, what rubbish. No weak holes at all and some very special holes…the 4th hole from the back tees is just wonderful to look at. As you walk along the path and look down on the rippling fairway then it’s just jaw dropping. The views up on the 9th tee over the whole course…wow, the views from the clubhouse were great, the 9 hole course, St Olaf, although played over the interior flat ground was still a great little links course perfect for a warm up if you decided to not yet drink the local drop given over with the scorecard. A marvellous course in great condition and worth 100 pounds easily. Becomes my 3rd 6 baller along with St Andrews Old and Western Gailes and the pick of the courses in the dozen I played in and around Aberdeenshire in a week of golf in July 2015.
August 06, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
1 person found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Cruden Bay is charming in an old worldly way that as a lover of links I would recommend it be a staple of any visit to the Aberdeen area. A warm welcome was had from the pro shop team to the well informed general manager, Les Durno before a practice putt in what could well be the largest putting green I have ever three putted on. The course itself runs in a figure of eight with the first three holes playing away for the clubhouse and a relatively generous opening stretch of par fours.

The par 3 fourth stars a series of standout holes that would befit any championship links course. Played today at 195yds into the prevailing southerly wind my par three was enough to take the skin. The 5th has a semi blind tee shot but there is more room to the right half of the fairway than seem from the raised tee. The approach is firm and narrow to a slanting green; I was quite pleased with my bogey here! Par 5 sixth hole asks for you to find the fairway to ensure a good lay up yardage short of the burn - not a brook in these parts! A tricky approach to raised green with run offs aplenty makes this a well designed par 5. Continuing this great stretch of holes is the par 4 seventh which although not really a driver it did take me to to the corner of the dog before a tight uphill approach to a long narrow green. Great hole! The short parCruden Bay Golf Course - Photo by reviewer four 8th can yield a birdie given it's only 260yards but it can also deal out plenty of three putt bogeys as our group found.

The 9th hole is widely regarded as the weakest link at Cruden Bay however although I didn't see it in its former guise I thought the new look layout was more than ample way to finish a great front nine. The new tee is perched as far as the land will take you overlooking Cruden Bay offering up a generous fairway that is still taking time to seed it. The 10th is an intimidating tee shot with OB right and once the new fairway bunkers are placed it will be an even stiffer test off the tee. I loved the new run off short right of the par 3 eleventh before twelve which took us to the far corner of the course before turning for home. The 13th although the longest of the two par 5s at 575yds can give up birdies with the wind at your tail and providing you avoid the burn - not brook, remember! from the tee. Lots of bunkering await off the 14th tee before another blind approach to what can only be described as sunken bath tub green. Make that a large sunken bath tub green.

Back to back par 3s were a first for me, anywhere! but a pleasant surprise and no doubt these holes have turned many a matchplay game on their head. 17th calls for a drive past St Olafs Well which shouldn't come into play and approach to another raised green with a huge bunker front left that must be avoided at all costs. The par 4 18th has more internal OB, this really is a great matchplay course, and mid iron approach to what was a true treat of links golf. What would I change for my next visit? I would book caddie for a proper lay up yardage on the 6th and help on all the many other blind shots. It's a fun course with each hole different but there is a reason why it is well placed in the Top100, it is a classic links that can be enjoyed regardless of playing ability.

When you do go be sure to order up the generous portion of ham, egg & chips & seek out general manager Les who might even pour you a great pint of Guinness! The post round view with food & black stuff on the go ain't to shabby either.....
May 12, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Played late April 2015, with a terrific ex-club champ on my bag as caddy. 1-2 club wind max, 55 F/12 C. Despite a recent Verticut, three new greens and early Spring turf conditions, I utterly loved this course. Played 36 with a wind shift between rounds so saw all holes both with and into the breeze. The views are stunning. The 4th hole is world class, but underrated is an excellent mix of par 4s (long, medium and short) and two strong par fives that require thought with all three shots. Lots of “siren song” holes and pins, tempting one to try risky shots. Every hole at Cruden is different, and nearly all are memorable -- there is no sameness here. From hole 3 through 8 are a sheer delight, with 4 worthy of its difficult reputation, 6 one of the more difficult par 5 3rd shots I can recall, and 7 a sneaky good par 4. The new 9th is still a wide, dullish plateau but with a nice infinity green. I found the blind 14-16 less difficult than I expected but quite enjoyable (16 has been redone to be less blind and soften the landing area). 17 (with its maddening Viking burial mound) and 18 (mind the hidden water hazard) are quite underrated by other reviewers (as are 1 and 2). In my opinion, not only is it visually dramatic, but this is among the most flat-out FUN golf courses I’ve ever played – beautiful, delightful, quirky, original with a brilliant variety of holes. CB's members and staff were very kind; the pro shop was good the practice facilities useful. Clubhouse food was only okay though.
April 29, 2015


See other reviews from this reviewer
Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review