With two of Scotland’s finest on the dance card for the day, we woke up this morning to dismal forecasts of heavy rain. Resigned to our fate we donned the rain gear and headed a half hour north to Aberdeenshire to play the quaint little gem of Cruden Bay. The good news was the rain clouds held their powder and nar an umbrella was raised all day…the bad news was we were graced with a true Scottish haar, a thick blanket of fog that robbed us of full appreciation of the tall tunes and awe-inspiring stretches of linksland that host this fine layout.
Despite the threatening deluge doors were wide open to welcome us.
The club house sits on a hill and the links unfolds beneath your feet….at least what you can make out of it in the haar.
Ethereal look to the gorse lined fairways strewn along turbulent seaside terrain with some man-sized dunes framing the skyline.
There would be no view of the remains of Slain’s Castle on the horizon behind 13th just the close in rocky bluffs at the sea’s edge.
An early challenge where the approach has to be hit with some grooves to keep it on the table top second green.
There is a climb to a three story walk-up to reach this putting surface.
The majesty of the par three fourth is veiled in secrecy but the challenge of a 200-yard carry to this shelf green in the high dunes is no less harrowing.
The third leg of the five par fifth is a delicate pitch across the burn to another coffee table green complex.
These stone bridges crossing the burns are a beautiful tradition throughout Scotland.
This one is dedicated to Hamish Stephen their long time keeper of the greens.
At least we could read the warning, even if we could not see the golfers crossing in front of eight tee on their way to the seventeenth. Climbing the dune into the belly of the haar to play the next two we could barely make out our shoe laces much less the flight of the ball.
Back down to the canyon floor as we began the inward nine the visibility steadily improved just in time for the teeth of the challenge beginning with a short pitch across the burn to the eleventh.
Even the smiley face was having trouble seeing out of this prickly lie in the gorse….good news it was playable.
Cruden is famous for the natural green settings that Old Tom Morris staked in 1899. This one of the five par thirteen is lurking behind a low dune at the foot of it’s big brother.
Heading back for the hills…..and the fog….and the funky part of the course we ascend the fourteenth.
A blind approach over this hill…..just trust the line of the directional pole….if you can make it out.
What awaits is a unique sunken turkish bath green setting…..please no diving in the shallow end.
Back-to-back blind par threes are next…this Scottish engineering marvel is the safety warning system…the bell is about 100 feet above.
Alas we return to the great wide open approaching the eighteenth green.
(Click here to follow our trail to Day 6b at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club)
For more detail click to see the Cruden Bay Golf Club Review