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Cruden Bay

DESIGNER: Tom Morris, Archie Simpson
PAR: 70
SSS (Course Rating): 72
TYPE: Links

While the spectacular views from the course of Slains Castle may have provided the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula, the experience of playing Cruden Bay, though certainly challenging is not quite so frightening.

Another course with origins in the 19th century, Cruden Bay was initially laid out by Tom Morris and was revised by Simpson. The links was originally owned by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company, who within a month of opening staged a professional tournament. Attracting many of the leading players of the time, Harry Vardon (then Open champion), James Braid and Ben Sayers were among those vying for the 30 first prize, duly pocketed by Vardon.

Very much a traditional links with humps, hollows and greens tucked into unimaginable spots, golf at Cruden Bay is full of surprises. As befits a course, which is over one hundred years old, Cruden Bay demands its fair share of blind-shots and while some modernisation has occurred, the links stands largely as a reminder of bygone days. It serves as a fine example to modern architects of what a course created primarily by nature should look like.

While each hole is an undeniable gem, probably the finest sequence of holes is between the 4th, which is one of the finest par 3's in golf and the 7th. The homeward nine does not disappoint either - with three blind holes, the closest thing to a dogleg par 3 that one could imagine, contoured greens and a panoramic backdrop, Cruden Bay is certainly one of Scotland's finest courses.

This links may not be one of Scotland's better-known courses and to the cost of many who arrange their trips around the more famous Scottish venues, is often overlooked. In time though, the fun, quality and spectacular nature of golf here will pervade and Cruden Bay will command the recognition it deserves.


Copthorne Hotel (50 minutes), The Marcliffe at Pitfodels (50 minutes)

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