The Local Knowlege

Courses & Travel

Dream Trip to Scotland, Day 8: Cruden Bay

Kevin Daly is a good friend who's on a dream golf trip to Scotland with his brother Mike. After he sent me his itinerary -- 21 rounds in 14 days -- I asked him to file a series of trip reports, which I'd post to the blog. Here's Day 8:

Cruden Bay Golf Club “Fun!” Mike and I had the same response when asked about Cruden Bay. With towering dunes at the beginning of the course, followed by holes along an ancient sea cliff, this course gives big grin. (I
m pleased we decided to play it twice.) The fog rolled in and out multiple times throughout both rounds, especially during the morning round, which just added to the visual drama. When the fog was thick we used the contours of the hills, cliffs, dunes and the course guide to help us navigate the routing. "Be the ball, Danny," went through my mind a few times.

The 195-yard fourth -- “Port Errol” -- is one of the scariest par 3s I’ve ever seen: 

Cruden_4b.jpg
One of Matty G’s readers remarked that the 455-yard fifth -- “The Buck” -- "is a wonderful driving hole.” He was right, but unfortunately we needed The Force to find the fairway. 

Here
s what we saw at the 10th tee:

Cruden_10.jpg
Here
s a version of what you should see (courtesy of Cruden

Cruden_10b.jpg
We loved the 14th
s sunken green:

Cruden_14b.jpg
The blind 236-yard 15th is the only dogleg par 3 I’ve ever played:

Cruden_15.jpg
Simply put: Cruden Bay is a testimony to the quality of links golf in Scotland.

At lunch ($11), looking down on the course and out to the North Sea, we watched the sun burn away the fog just in time for us to go back out and play the beautiful beast again. It was also time to call the Old Course at St. Andrews (before 2 p.m.) to enter the daily ballot for play on the following day. We were prepared to make the call three days in a row. Experts say there’s a 50/50 chance of getting a tee time.

Here was my conversation with the friendly female voice of the Old Course:

“Hello, my name is Kevin Daly and I was hoping to get a tee time at the Old Course tomorrow. We have a twosome.”

“What time would you like to play, Mr. Daly?”

“Any time.”

“We start tee times at 6:30 a.m.”

“We’ll play any time.”

“Would you mind being paired with another two ball?”

“We’ll play with anyone at any time.”

She laughed and told me I could check online or call back at 4:30. 
At which point, I said to Mike, “I’ve got a good feeling about this.” 

(I had applied for a tee time in September 2010, but we were rejected. Click here for more details and options of getting on the Old Course.)

After the call we turned our attention back to Cruden Bay. By the time we stepped on the first tee, which was 1:30, the fog was back. Regardless, we enjoyed the course again.

At 4:30 we were standing on the 16th tee, which is where I called back to St. Andrews. 

“This is Kevin Daly . . . ” 

“Yes Mr. Daly, we have a tee time for you at the Old Course tomorrow at 7:50 a.m. Does that suit you?” I
’ll say.
 I made all pars at Cruden
s three fantastic finishing holes. Scores: Mike 76, 77; Kevin 93, 90.

After the round, and with bird in hand, (we had a tee time at the Old Course), we hopped in the car and had a sweet two-hour drive to St. Andrews. (Here
s an updated map of our travels.) In addition, Paul, my swing coach, gave a ring to check up on my swing. I told him I had left it on the driving range in Vienna. We also discussed the idea of introducing the belly putter into my life. (So I have that in common with Phil Mickelson.)

Bottom line: I paid a deposit of $32 in January; a balance $80 at the end of June. The $112 green fee to play 36 at Cruden Bay (replay rate is free) was one of the best deals on the trip. 

Lodging: Kinburn Guest House in St. Andrews for $80. Derek and Elaine are fantastic! They
re also friendly, flexible and knowledgeable about the area. 

Total cost of day: $203
Eight-day total: $2,756

--Kevin Daly

(Day 9, Old Course, will post on Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter @Matt Ginella.)


 
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