Cruden Bay Golf Club is situated on the east coast of Scotland 23 miles north of Aberdeen, 8 miles south of Peterhead and only a two hour drive from St Andrews, the “Home of Golf”
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 golf club features an endearing combination of uniqueness, class, fun, and beauty. Upon arrival at the club you’ll be greeted by a member that welcomes you to the club and offers a quick tour of the facilities including the finest 180 degree view from the dining room. On one wall of the dining room you’ll find a board with large lettering displaying the last names of the guests playing that day and welcoming them to the club; a classy and unpretentious move indeed. The lower level of the clubhouse is where you’ll find the pro shop that features a commendable collection of logo items to shop from and where you check in for golf that day.
Cruden Bay Golf, 2 courses, 27 hole
Green fees include all 27 holes at Cruden Bay so it is a great idea to allocate enough time to play them all, especially since the nine hole course gets much less play and you’ll be able to enjoy any pace you want. As you stroll out on the course and put your first peg in the tee box you’ll instantly be impressed by the conditioning of the bent and fescue grass blend of turf.
The opening tee shot plays away from the clubhouse to a fairway that sits below the town which begins the adventure away from reality and into a fantasy like experience. Players begin to encounter the uniqueness of Cruden Bay as they face different elevation changes, the occasional blind shot, a driveable par four, and terrain framed at times by gorse and/or marram grasses.
The Kodak moment comes at the 9th tee where players ascend to the highest point of the course and are offered one of the most impressive views in all of golf with a panoramic view of the golf course with the sparkling Moray Firth being the perfect neighbor to complement the scenery.
The back nine is one of my all time favorite inward collection of holes with the three hole stretch of 13-15 rivaling any par 5, par 4, par 3 run in the world. You will find the experience to be similar to Alister MacKenzie’s famed Lahinch course in Ireland with an extra touch of magic that is tough to describe and can only be experienced. Ultimately, You will love Cruden Bay. You have to include Cruden Bay on your trip to Scotland. If you don’t do that, you will regret it.
Most difficult hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club
7th Hole – 458 Yard Par 4 – Sporting one of the most unique names for a golf hole, “Whaupshank” can’t be the kind of name that breeds confidence going in. The hole tees off over a burn from the back tee and needs to carry 200 yards to reach the fairway. The fairway then slithers its way uphill between dunes that steadily tightens as it reaches the green site. This hole plays back towards the sea which means it can often play into the wind which normally isn’t that big of a deal until you consider the false front that is quick to repel weak approach shots. Shots that don’t carry the hill and penetrate the wind will tumble back 30 yards and create an awkward chipping distance for many players. The green is quite narrow so accuracy must be paired with deft distance control to conquer this beast.
To conclude, 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.
Note that the bar close at 11pm.