An Old Tom Morris Classic Links, Cruden Bay Golf Club

Cruden Bay Golf Club is nestled along the rugged Aberdeenshire coastline of Scotland, just over 30 minutes north of Aberdeen. The course stands as a testament to the raw beauty and challenge of links golf. Founded in 1899, this historic club has carved out a revered reputation among golf enthusiasts worldwide.

We had played Cruden Bay before, between 25 and 30 years ago and only really remembered one hole which we will discuss later. We put this down to the passing of time, our advancing years and the amount of golf we have played during that period. As we would find out, the championship course is certainly memorable in many ways.

An Old Tom Classic

Designed by renowned golf course architect and 4-time Open Champion, Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson. Morris is the designer of such classic Scottish links as Prestwick, Muirfield, Machrihanish and Balcomie at Crail. He also designed Lahinch and Rosapenna in Ireland and Wallasey and Royal North Devon in England. Cruden Bay was later refined by noted architects Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler in 1926. Each hole presents its own challenge, demanding precision and strategy from players of all skill levels. From blind shots to narrow fairways flanked by deep bunkers, every aspect of the course gives you both admiration and trepidation in equal measure.

Cruden Bay’s standout features are its natural hazards, including the imposing dunes, unpredictable winds, and strategically placed bunkers. These elements require golfers to employ a combination of skill, creativity, and adaptability to navigate successfully. The championship course spans 6,287 yards and has a par of 70. It offers a stern test of golfing prowess while rewarding those who dare to take on its challenges. The St. Olaf’s 9-hole course is almost 2,500 yards of pure trickery and fun and is certainly worth playing as a warm-up to the main event.

St Olaf Nine

Taking our own advice, we decided to play a quick nine holes in the morning before lunch and the championship course in the afternoon. We were joined by Tom and John, a father and son who were members at Panmure, a links course 90 miles south on the East Coast. As members there, they get to play at Cruden Bay as part of a reciprocal agreement. The St Olaf course has a par of 32 and it’s not an easy wee course. The standout holes for us were the 5th, 6th and 7th, the first two being completely new holes.

The 5th Hole

Measuring just 292 yards, the par 4 5th hole is a visual delight for connoisseurs of links golf. Longer hitters may fancy taking a pop at the green off the tee but beware of the deep bunkers that await anything short or left. The green is surrounded by native yellow gorse bushes which frame it beautifully. They may look nice but if your ball goes in them, forget it, those bushes sting!

Par 3 Heaven

The Short 6th

A short walk up the grass pathway through the gorse takes you to the 6th tee, a par 3 of 145 yards. The green on this hole is tiny. With a bunker on the left and a run-off area right, you need an accurate tee shot to stay on the green. Into the breeze, it’s a medium iron. It’s better to be short than left or right. A great wee hole.

The 7th Hole

The 7th is another hole beautifully framed by the gorse bushes. It measures just 123 yards and we played it into a freshening breeze. From the elevated tee, you hit across a gully to a sloping green. We hit two clubs more than we would normally for the distance and still didn’t get up. Our tee shot landed on the slope to the right of the flag and rolled back towards the bunker. It stopped about 6 inches from the edge which meant we had to play a backhanded shot as we had no stance. We didn’t make par….

Lunch Time

The Clubhouse and Starters Hut

As we walked back up the hill to the clubhouse, our stomachs were rumbling as our thoughts turned to what to have for lunch. Like many golfers, we look for those healthy options on the menu and like most, we scrap that and go with something that will fill us up. After all, we needed sustenance before tackling the championship links.

The Full Scottish

We chose the Scottish Breakfast as it had been a few hours since our porridge and we have to say, it was a perfect choice. Once we had demolished this along with the toast and a large coffee, We were all set for the challenge that lay ahead.

The Main Event

The allure of Cruden Bay is its breathtaking natural setting. With towering dunes and overlooking the North Sea, the course offers panoramic views that inspire both awe and focus. The ever-changing weather conditions add an extra layer of complexity, ensuring that no two rounds are alike. We were lucky. The weather was dry, and overcast with a fresh breeze. A perfect day to play links golf.

Cruden Bay has five sets of tees to choose from. Ranging from 5320 yards up to the championship tees at 6609 yards. We chose to play from the white tees at 6263 yards with a slope index of 125, which should be a reasonable test of our golf. As we always say, choose the tees to suit your game and handicap. Do not feel pressured into playing from tees that will be too much for you. You want to be able to enjoy it without being overwhelmed.

The Opening Nine

Every one of the holes on the front nine has its challenges. The first is a tough opening hole, the second has the elevated green which you can’t be short or miss to the right. The third is a short par 4 with a blind tee shot and a traffic light system to tell you when to tee off. However, we have selected four holes as our standout holes.

The 4th Hole

The first of these is the 4th hole, a par 3 which plays 196 yards. Visually, it’s a stunning hole. The short grass is beautifully framed by the native marram grass. Your tee shot is all carry to the green which sits slightly above you. The green is wide but narrow in depth and therefore it is tough to hold. Take enough club to get there as it’s easier to make par from being long than if you come up short.

Hidden Dangers

Approach to the 6th Green

The 6th hole is one of only two par 5’s on the course. At 517 yards it’s not overly long but the challenge for the longer hitters is whether to go for the green or lay up. The problem posed is that you cannot see the green at any point until you are within 120 yards as it’s tucked away over the dunes on the left. What you cannot see, even in this photo is that there is a wide and deep ditch just short of the green on the left. It wasn’t an issue for us as we were not long enough to reach in two anyway however the ditch still caught us out as we came up short with our 3rd shot. You have been warned!

The Narrow Entrance to the 7th Green

The 7th hole is all about your second shot. Off the tee, the fairway is wide and inviting. The second shot is nothing like the tee shot. For us, it was a mid-iron second which we thought was on the green just right of the flag. What we didn’t realise was that there was not much green right of the flag and our ball had run off down the slope. The ball had come to rest about 20 yards off the green which was about 12 feet above us. We didn’t get up and down. We were finding out that local knowledge was key to a good score around here.

Birdie Opportunity

The 8th Hole

Standing on the short par 4 8th hole, you get to appreciate the size of some of the dunes at Cruden Bay. This hole is beautifully framed by two large dunes and at only 250 yards, it’s a good chance of a birdie if you hit it straight. Our tee shot with a driver was well-struck but came up 15 yards short of the green. It’s only then you realise that the hole plays slightly uphill. Our chip to the green ran 12 feet past the cup and we missed the birdie attempt. The walk-up to the 9th tee deserves a mention. It is a cardio workout on its own although the view once you get your breath back is spectacular. Check out our video below.

Turning for Home

The 10th Hole

The back nine is shorter than the front with a par of 34 against the outward par of 36. The 10th plays from the elevated tee down to the fairway at sea level. Going right off the tee is a no-no so aim at the bunkers on the left. The burn is not in play except for the longest of hitters and a decent drive will leave you a short iron into a raised and tiered green. This must be a really difficult hole into the wind as it’s a small green to hit with a medium iron. Take a par and move on.

Hidden Gems

The 13th hole is the other par 5 on the course and at 571 yards, it’s without doubt a three-shot hole. The difficulty on this hole is the third shot. The majority of the green is hidden by a large mound so make sure you take enough club to carry the mound. This hole was into the breeze for us and required a full 6-iron for our third shot. Not an easy hole.

The Hidden 14th Green

Holes 13, 14 and 15 all have one thing in common, you can’t see the green on any of these holes. In the early days of links golf, blind holes were considered to be necessary for a great links course. Times have changed but these three holes endure. The 14th hole is 400 yards long and is a dogleg to the right. The second shot is the blind shot. If you are in the middle of the fairway then it’s a shot over the marker pole. If you are left or right you will have to trust your aim to land on the sunken green. We think it’s a cracking hole.

Where’s the Green?

The 15th is the only hole we remembered from our previous round. You can see why. It’s a blind tee shot on a par 3 of 195 yards! If you look closely you can see the marker pole on the hillside just left of the clubhouse in the background. Err on the right side if you are unsure as there is more room right.

Health and Safety

The Traffic Light System

Both the 3rd and 15th holes are controlled by a traffic light system for golfers’ safety. Once you have finished the hole, you press the button on the next tee and the light at the previous tee turns green, allowing you to tee off. Once you tee off, you hit the button on the tee to signify that you are on the hole. The system works well and could be the solution for other courses where they have blind tee shots.

The Closing Holes

The 16th Hole

The last par 3 is the 16th hole. It measures 172 yards and for us was playing into the breeze. Take enough club as long is better than short on this hole with the banks behind the green providing a backstop if you go too long. The last two holes are strong par 4’s especially into the breeze. The 18th has recently been rerouted and the new turf is already starting to bed in. It’s no pushover at almost 420 yards and for us, it was into the breeze. It will take two good shots to finish on the closing green.

In Our Opinion

Cruden Bay is deserving of all the plaudits it receives from visiting golfers. It is another must-play links course if you are in the northeast of Scotland and is on many visitors’ bucket lists. While not the longest, the course will test every facet of your game. Driving, approach play, clubbing and your short game. It will even test your nerves with the blind shots. Cruden Bay is a fantastic golf course and we will remember many of the holes for a long time. It is so good that we want to make a return visit when back in the area. Put Cruden Bay on your list, you will not regret it!!

Thank you to General Manager Andrew Good for hosting us and thanks also to Elaine Stephen in the booking office for sorting out our tee times.

At a Glance
  • Designed by Old Tom Morris and Archie Simpson
  • 27 holes of classic Links golf
  • Driving range, chipping area and large putting green
  • Well-stocked Pro shop
  • Welcoming staff in the clubhouse and pro shop
  • 50 golf courses within an hours drive
  • 25 miles north of Aberdeen City Centre
  • For more information click on this link









Ja, Vulkan Vegas Casino bietet einen großzügigen Willkommensbonus für neue Spieler. vulkan vegas Vulkan Vegas scheint ein Spezialist c/o jedem Gebiet ihrer Spielhalle zu sein. aviator insta spiele jetx Bestandskunden können sich c/o Vulkan Vegas über jede Menge Bonusangebote freuen. von vulkan Echte Nachteile ergeben sich durch dieses Spielen mit Spielgeld selbstverständlich nicht. vulkan vegas