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


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: 8.5 out of 10 Reviews: 74
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Bernhard Koehler
I played the course last week. In my opinion this is a very good links course. It is much fun to play this course. Especially some holes are really great. But if you have to decide if you play Cruden Bay or the lower ranked Royal Aberdeen I would recommend you Royal Aberdeen. Unlike Cruden Bay (which is shorter and more tricky) Royal Aberdeen is a Championship Links Course
August 20, 2006
8 / 10
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Jim Huton
If you like modern, american style courses without personality then give Cruden Bay a miss!. I have played this may times and never failed to enjoy it. I have got sunburned here, and also nearly got frostbitten - not at the same time obviously. Yes it has some blind shots but they are not contrived - the course makes use of the natural terrain to wonderful, and sometimes quirky effect. It is a joy - unless the wind blows.
April 23, 2006
10 / 10
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Jim Robertson
Rightly venerated in 'To the Linksland' Cruden Bay is for all golfers with a soul. Rather like Turnberry in that the first 3 holes give no pointer to the grandeur ahead which starts on the 4th tee and continues through the next few holes especially the 5th and 6th. After a brief hiatus at the 9th (what's that hole about?) there follows another magnificent sequence of holes. Play here in late autumn when it's it's nearly deserted and I defy any golfer not to get in touch with his or her inner self. This is why you love this mad game.
February 04, 2006
10 / 10
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Bushy
I have had the good fortune to have played this course many many times. Each round brings a new treat. Some par fours are deceptively short, but the course has one of the hardest run of links holes in golf. You may get off to a good start,but then you get to the par 3, 4th, which off the back tees into the wind you are lucky to hit with a driver. Then the 5th, a long par 4, very hard to par, and then the par 5, 6th,' 'the bluidy burn' which is a card wrecker. The short par 4 8th is forgiving if you can hit it straight, then you are upto the best view on the East coast of Scotland.Whoever says this course is overrated, obviously takes their golf too seriously. The surroundings, the mixture of forgiving and difficult holes, and the canny ability to wreck your card when you think you are onto your best round yet, makes this course one of Scotland's best. Why would the pro's come and play here before the Open if it didn't test them and get them into shape before the big one?! Because this course tests every facet of your game.Well worth the trip and good value for money. Also very friendly welcomming staff. The 9 hole St. Olaf's course is also a gem, especially on a late summers evening when the sun is setting over the emmense dunes.
January 09, 2006
10 / 10
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Richard Smith
I can never decide if Cruden Bay or the West Links at North Berwick is my favorite links course in Scotland. Cruden Bay is simply a delight. It has every different aspect of links golf in one place. There are dunes, fast running holes, significant elevation changes, driveable par 4's, and, of course, blind shots. The view from the 11th tee is stunning, but the entire course has a great feel and ambience to it. I love the blind second shot to the 14th, as well as the blind par three 15th. If you go to Scotland to play links golf, blind shots are part of what make the game so interesting and exciting. The club is very friendly, and the only downside is that the course is somewhat out of the way. However I would take the course in either while playing the northern links (Nairn, Dornoch) or while playing up the east coast of Scotland.
November 19, 2005
10 / 10
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David Parratt
One of Scotland's most picturesque links courses. Par 3, #4 is beautiful. A few quirky blind shots including a blind par 3 on the back side. Hire a caddie the first time.
February 08, 2005
8 / 10
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Bart Boudreaux
Great views from the clubhouse but golf couse is very overrated. Two terrible holes and many average holes at best. Routinely ranked in the top 75 in the world which I can't understand.
December 31, 2004
4 / 10
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Jim McCann

I played the club's Open in June 2003 and the first thing to strike you is the size and site of the clubhouse which is enormous, and sits overlooking the course below. It looks like the club have sold some land for housing as you approach the course at the top of the hill and they have obviously ploughed the money back in to providing magnificent modern facilities for members and visitors alike. The view out the huge plate glass windows of the lounge is something to behold.

The course has been described as quirky but I did not think that at all. This is good old fashioned links golf from a time gone by, and will be hated by a lot of modern golfers but not by those who revel in courses like this.Golf here brings the fun back into playing the game.

Par three's one after another? Tut,tut.

Short par fours, a blind drive or blind approach here and there? Dear oh dear.

Chill out and experience the future of links golf encapsulated in the past!

Cruden Bay is a cracking course set amidst glorious terrain so be prepared to shed your golfing inhibitions on the first tee and you might just step off the 18th a born again links golfer!

Jim McCann

December 23, 2004
10 / 10
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Shaun
More than a little over-rated. Good front nine spoilt by silly Par 4 8th. Back nine unmemorable except for stupid par 3 16th.
October 10, 2004
4 / 10
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Kevin P
Cruden Bay has a very unique 'Figure 8' design and probably the best 14 holes one could wish to play. I say 14 because the 1st two and last two are a bit of a let down when compared to the rest of the course but that said - CB has a wonderful mix and variety of holes. The 4th has an idyllic setting and is one of the best Par3's in the UK and the 15th is similar to the 'Dell' at Lahinch - only 85 yards longer !! The Par4's 4 and 10 have amazing views from the tee and the Par5 6th places a premium on accuracy over power. The two short Par 4's on the F9 tempt you to attack them but their 'bite' can be lethal as is evident by the fact that Slains Castle (purportedly of Dracula fame) is a backdrop to the course. The course winds it's way through the dunes and all facets of your game will be tested when you play Cruden Bay - definitely recommend a visit. KP 9/10
October 04, 2004
8 / 10
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