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


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Cruden Bay

Some say golf was played at Cruden Bay way back in the 18th century. An authenticated ballot box with the inscription "Cruden Golf Club 1791" exists, but Cruden Bay Golf Club wasn’t formed until more than 100 years later. Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson laid out the course for the Great North of Scotland Railway Company (GNSR) and it opened for play in 1899. In 1926, Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler redeveloped the layout leaving many of the original greensites and routing intact. 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.
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Reviews for Cruden Bay (Championship)

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Description: 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. Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 64
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John
Cruden Bay is a very enjoyable course and in very good condition. Palyed 2/4/12 and really enjoyed my round. I would definately advise a stroke saver and/or playing with someone familiar to the course as there are alot of places where local knowledge will come in handy. Not a place for belting it, you'll have to think and choose your shots accordingly. Very playable and very pretty.
April 03, 2012
8 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Dan Hare
Having been snowed off in 2010, we were delighted to play here this April! I was fully expecting to love Cruden Bay with its stunning location and quirky design, but I was also very pleasantly surprised with the Southern loop that you cant see from the club house. I differ with sdodd in that the 15th was fun and we found both tee shots, but the 14th for me was the highlight with a wonderful green position giving you the chance to play a unique (in my experience) running, gathering approach shot. So pleased to have finally played it, would absolutely love to play it again ! dan
July 26, 2011
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Gary Wilde
I have played in the 4 Day Open this week which has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience in glorious weather. The people involved with the organisation of the event were delightful and it will be a pleasure to return in future years. My favourite spot on the course was standing on the fifth tee on the towering dune looking at the fairway below.
July 15, 2011
8 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Eric Veenhuyzen
Cruden Bay is a magnificent place to be and to play. The fairways may not be as narrow as on some other link courses, but still challenging enough. Of course the holes in the far south corner where you can hear the howling seals are spectacular. Beautiful scenery and a pleasure to be.
June 16, 2011
8 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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David Hasson
I fell in love with this course. It has real character and unsurpassed views. Very challenging without being overly punishing, a fantastic day out and one for which I'll make the long journey for next year too.
September 15, 2010
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Jorn Greve
Simply one of the best classic links you will ever play. Totally disagree to the critical reviews. Make the long way and you will be rewarded. Add the great Royal Aberdeen and you cant get more value for your money. Fantastic!
September 13, 2010
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Len Palmer
At long last I got to play Cruden Bay and now can't wait to return. Those who criticise the course have no golfing soul - the whole experience is wonderful from the moment you arrive to take in the views of the course and the sea set out below you. You think it can't get better but when you reach the 10th tee it does. Quirky in places - yes, but this is golf the way it was meant to be played !!!
August 24, 2010
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Graham Stuart
It is my good fortune to have recently become a Country Member at Cruden Bay and, quite simply, it is a wonderful course if you like your links in the dunes / valleys style (e.g. Prestwick, Turnberry, Royal Aberdeen). Only two of the holes are less than excellent (the 8th and 9th), with the two stetches from 1-6 and 10-16 being filled with all that links golf is about (blinds shots, massive dunes, punishing rough, winding burns, quirky layouts etc). Can't wait to head up again in a few weeks!
July 12, 2010
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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Jason
The most interesting feature of the championship links at Cruden Bay is the routing, originally laid out by Old Tom Morris. The journey of the golfer through the links is a memorable one that weaves in and out of the natural links landscape, through the magnificent dunes and along the sea. The view on the 10th tee is especially great of holes 10-14 and of the sea (Bay of Cruden). The quirkiness and blind shots of some of the holes is expressive of the true nature of classic links courses and found in a profound manner here at Cruden Bay.

It is easy to imagine how the landscape would have looked when Old Tom Morris walked the site and put stakes in the ground to indicate tee and green sites. The site feels very natural and like the topography wasn’t touched in order for golf to be played on it today. I think the excellent landscape integration of the course is a very unique feature of the course and sets it apart from many links courses. The routing of the 15th hole is especially special being a long blind par 3. Not only is the hole blind but it is right along the coast and the wind has a major effect on the ball as it enters through the tall dunes as it nears the green. While it is rare to aim for a stake and not the green on a par 3, this is just another unique quality of Cruden Bay. It is interesting to hit your shot and speculate its fate, and as golfers approach the green the result of their shot is revealed to them. This surprise can be a good one or frustrating for those who thought they hit a great shot right over the aiming stake and cannot find their ball amongst the dunes and long native grass.

Another surprise that golfers face is on the 6th hole, where a blind burn winds around the front of the green. First time golfers at Cruden Bay don’t realize the hazard comes very much into play on the 525 yard par 5. The burn and the green are both blind from the left side of the fairway which makes the hole play very difficult, especially for first timers. But, for those who have played the hole often the burn is at a good distance that forces longer hitters to consider laying up or trying to hit their second shots over the burn and toward the green. The features of the golf hole may frustrate golfers the first time they play it but keeps them coming back to challenge Bluidy Burn, which is a characteristic all architects strive for when designing golf holes.

I think it is interesting that the climax of the golf journey at Cruden Bay is actually from holes 10-15, which start with an excellent driving hole on the tenth tee and finish with an interesting 200 yard par 3, and plays along the sea in between. The winding burn feature in the 13th fairway is also a very interesting natural feature on the course that both forces golfers to make a decision as well as being very aesthetically pleasing. But after playing these 6 holes the last 3 holes definitely do not live up to the quality of the previous 6.

The 17th and 18th holes are pretty average par 4’s in comparison to many of the outstanding golf holes on the course that wind between the dunes and offer great views to the sea and have quirky features that make them interesting, while the last two holes don’t offer any of these features. The elevated 17th tee does offer decent views to most of the first 7 holes and features a large dune in the middle of the fairway but still feels like a left over hole that is there just to get golfers back to the clubhouse. The last hole lacks any real features to make it an exciting finishing hole besides the clubhouse towering above the right side that offers great views for those watching golfers come up the final hole.
March 09, 2010
8 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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sdodd
March 10, 2010
I feel the reviewer has drank the Kool-Aid and missed Cruden Bay's faults. First I think Cruden Bay is a good course. The reviewer highlights 15, which is the worst hole on the course, after the pedestrian 9th. In looking at the 15th anyhole in which a lost ball is more than likely is a bad golf hole. The brillance of Cruden Bay is in holes 3 through 8, with 4 being world class. There is maybe not a better 3 hole stretch than 4 through 6. If a couple of the holes on the relief 9 were brought into the main course Cruden Bay might close in on being great but until then teh best of Cruden Bay can be savored from the club hosue window. For a really nice links experience drive up the coast and give Fraserburgh a go at half the cost.
Hamish Wilson
A round here is unforgetable. Simply a delight. Links golf at its very best with some superb holes. The only ho;e that is ordinary is the 9th. but a necessary link. The setting is beautiful. Having played all the great links courses in Scotland and some in England and Ireland I rate this as one of the best.
October 22, 2009
10 / 10
Cruden Bay (Championship)
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