Cruden Bay Golf Club Championship Course: Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

The classic links at Cruden Bay Golf Club is blessed with burns, bunkers, elevation changes and excellent topography that create wonderful, panoramic views

Cruden Bay Golf Club Championship Course
The perfectly imperfect dunescape at Cruden Bay
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Cruden Bay Golf Club Key Information

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AddressAulton Road, Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, AB42 0NN
Phone01779 812285
Websitecrudenbaygolfclub.co.uk
Email bookings@crudenbaygolfclub.co.uk
GFs£165 Mon-Fri, £180 Weekend
Visitor TimesEvery day subject to availability
ParMen 70, Women 73
SlopeWhite/M 125, Red/W 138
Opened1899
ArchitectOld Tom Morris & Archie Simpson, Tom Simpson & Herbert Fowler, Tom Mackenzie
Golf Monthly Verdict

Cruden Bay - Hole 8

(Image credit: David J Whyte)

Cruden Bay has plenty that you would expect from a very well established links bearing a great pedigree, but in addition to the old-school charm, there is a real twist with so much character, charm and originality on offer all the way. The course is terrific fun and packed with very memorable and interesting holes, some of which may just get you scratching your head.

Reasons To Play Cruden Bay

– A traditional course but with more than its fair share of individuality

– Some of the most exciting seaside holes in Scotland

– One of four Top 100 courses on the Aberdeenshire coast

Rankings

UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 66

Cruden Bay Golf Club is a one-off, and while not everyone is a fan of everything about the design here, one thing on which almost everyone seems to agree is that it’s a course packed with fun.

It has all that is great and challenging about an old-fashioned links combined with a great deal of variety including plateau greens, undulating fairways, blind shots, streams and gorse. As far as golfing escapism goes, this is one of the very best

As well being a traditional links with a strong heritage, the real joy of the Championship Course at Cruden Bay is that it is something way more as well. Due to its undulations and elevated dunes, it serves up the most wonderful, panoramic views and is one of the best golf courses in Scotland.

Back in 1894, the Great North of Scotland Railway Company decided that a golf course here would be just the thing to accompany thet hotel it was constructing at the same time. Both the hotel and the course, designed by the godfather of course architecture Old Tom Morris along with Archie Simpson, were opened in 1899.

The following year, the golf club was formed, and a quarter of a century later the course was upgraded by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler who in the main kept the original greens and routing. In more recent times there have been a few other changes, particularly at the ninth and sixteenth, which have continued to improve a really interesting course that was already hugely enjoyable.

The opening holes head eastwards over the most inland part of the course towards the river. This, in turn, borders the very pretty par-3 fourth, before the course then accelerates its way southwards with a series of interesting and very entertaining holes.

There are three potentially driveable par 4s - at least from the forward tees - at the third, eighth and twelfth - and four quite varied and very attractive short holes, two of which come back-to-back at fifteen and sixteen. Water will have a say in your strategy on the two par 5s, but unless you are playing off the very back tees, length is not the issue here. It is more a question of negotiating the burns, bunkers and humps and bumps. 

Cruden Bay - Hole 4

The picturesque par-3 fourth beside the river

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Tim Gorman UK&I Top 100 panel
Tim Gorman

A high-class links with excellent practice facilities, a modern clubhouse and locker rooms, and a very friendly welcome. Visitors will have difficulty finding fault. Quality from start to finish.

Cruden Bay Golf Club Location

Cruden Bay Green Fees

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18 holes£130April and from Oct 9th
18 holes£165May-Oct 8th Weekday
18 holes£180May-Oct 8th Weekday

Cruden Bay Golf Club Championship Course scorecard

Cruden Bay Golf Club Championship Course scorecard

(Image credit: Cruden Bay Golf Club)

Best Golf Courses Near Cruden Bay

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TRUMP INTERNATIONAL LINKS, SCOTLAND

One of the finest and indeed toughest new designs, this spectacular and no-holds-barred links is a remarkable achievement with Martin Hawtree belying the adage that you cannot create an instant classic. His rollercoaster ride through the towering dunes is enormous fun, and unusually for such a course, every hole is distinct and memorable.

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MURCAR LINKS

Close enough to Royal Aberdeen to shake hands, Murcar Links is a fabulous and traditional links with elevated tees, gorse and wide views out to sea. Perhaps a shade more forgiving than its neighbour, scoring is dependent upon how well you manage the tough par 4s.

Places To Stay Near To Cruden Bay

St. Olaf Hotel - Book now via Booking.com

St. Olaf Hotel is right by the golf club and has a garden, private parking, a restaurant and a bar. Some rooms have a sea view. The restaurant and lounge bar are popular with locals, with much of the food sourced locally including fish from Peterhead, and meat from Ellon and Aberdeen.

Seaview Hotel, Peterhead - Book now via Booking.com

This hotel has a restaurant and bar, and the rooms are fitted with a coffee machine and an iPod docking station. The kitchen serves a large varied menu, comprising of dishes made with fresh local fish, beef, chicken and seasonal vegetables, from local suppliers.

Cruden Bay Gallery

Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 66
  • 2021/22 - 69
  • 2019/20 - 71
  • 2017/18 - 76
  • 2015/16 - 89
  • 2013/14 - 89
  • 2011/12 - 89
  • 2009/10 - 88

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Cruden Bay special?

Imagine a traditional, top-quality links that runs over relatively flat turf next to the sea. Now take that same plot of land, but add in some really interesting elevation changes that influence both the strategy and the views.

Who designed Cruden Bay?

The original layout was the work of Old Tom Morris whose legacy lives on in many of the courses in the Top 100 including the number one, Royal County Down.

Where is Cruden Bay?

Along with Royal Aberdeen, Trump International Scotland and Murcar Links, Cruden Bay is one of four extremely strong and varied links courses in the Top 100 on the Aberdeenshire coast in Scotland.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2021, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He has been a member of Tandridge in Surrey for 30 years where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.