Cruden Bay Golf Club is a traditional Scottish links golf course that was originally designed by Tom Morris of St Andrews and Archie Simpson in 1899 and redesigned in the 1920s by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler. The club is situated north of Aberdeen and is widely considered one of the best links golf courses in Scotland. Golf Digest has rated it as 70th best in the world, whilst Golf Magazine rated it 52nd in the world. It was also rated by Links Magazine in 2013 as the 54th best course in the world. It has two courses, the Championship Links and St Olaf’s course, which is a smaller, par-68 golf course that serves as a great warm-up or warm-down round to make a great 36-hole day.
The unique links course was commissioned in 1894 by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company and fully opened in 1899 as part of the recreational facilities offered by the Cruden Bay Hotel, newly erected and opened in March of that same year. The inner nine-hole “ladies course” was also laid out at the same time. From the onset, golfers came from all over the world to play the championship golf course – designed by Old Tom Morris of St Andrews, with help from Archie Simpson. The Cruden Bay Golf Club was formed around 1900, the first Captain being the Rev B Alcock.
In 1926 the course was redesigned to the current layout by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler. They also redesigned the St Olaf course which was opened at the same time. The original course measured 5290 yards. By 1908 the course had been extended to 5929 yards, and then in 1926 the partnership of Simpson and Fowler oversaw the redevelopment of the course, although many of Tom Morris’s original greens and basic routing are still in evidence. In more recent times small alterations have been made to the course, such as the addition of new tees and bunkers, and the length now stands at 6263 yards.
The Championship golf course is considered a masterpiece by many who get the chance to experience it. It’s an inspirational course that utilises the natural lay of the land in great Scottish links style, with towering sand dunes, undulating fairways and deep pot bunkers, it’s a fascinating course to play. Although there is nothing new about the classic Scottish links courses, their layouts all seem to offer a new feel or dimension to a round that makes each game unique in its own right. Cruden Bay makes its mark on the player so memorable that it’s never forgotten.
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. Additional points of reference on the course are elevated tees cut into the towering dunes, punchbowl greens that are every bit as dramatic as the view of the icy-cold North Sea from the elevated tees. Cruden Bay Championship Links should be on everyone’s bucket list golf holiday.
The clubhouse at Cruden bay is very welcoming, so be sure to stop in after your round for anything from a bacon role to a lavish lunch or full-blown dinner. Other services include a practice driving range, putting green, chipping area, along with caddy services, trolley hire, club hire and a well-stocked pro shop.