The Lads of Scotland (my golf buddies who converge in Scotland biannually) have a very fun tradition we’ve indulged in each of the (now) three times we’ve golfed in Scotland, midnight putting. The event usually follows 36 holes of golf, dinner, a few dozen wee pints, cigars, and a wee bottle of scotch.
The first two Scotland trips The Lads did the midnight putting event on the Himalayas, the putt-putt green next to the Old Course, and the 18th hole of the Old Course itself. I’m proud to have made a bogey on the 18th at The Old with my putter, in the dark, at 1 a.m.
This year we changed it up and had our midnight putting event on the beautiful 4th hole at Cruden Bay in northeastern Scotland. The 4th at Cruden provides some great drama with a gigantic false front, false right, and 14 foot grass bunker wall behind. Enjoy the video:
Lovely how the moon rose over the course. Yes, we raked the bunker when we were done…
I’m still catching up with my daily recaps from the HOG World Tour visit to Scotland 1.5 weeks ago. The last post covered the first half of one of the most epic single golf days in HOG history, with a morning round at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. The second half was an evening tour stop at the stunning Cruden Bay Golf Club. STUNNING.
Cruden Bay is on the northeast coast of Scotland (map below), a couple of hours or so north of St. Andrews. The course is located in the super small and lovely town Cruden Bay, which has an estimated 1,700 residents.
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While documentation shows that golf was played on the land in 1791, the course officially opened in 1899, designed by Old Tom Morris. The course ranks highly (no surprise) in so many publications I can’t mention them all. A couple include #54 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 and #29 in the world by Golf Cours Architecture Magazine. Just wait until the 2016 HOG World Rankings come out… I feel a top five coming.
The course plays to a par value of 70, with a max yardage from the tips of 6,599. The original course in 1899 played to 5,290 yards.
The most unique and memorable aspects of Cruden Bay are its incredible views of the shoreline and the North Sea. From the perch of the 9th tee one can see for miles. It is one of the most amazing views I’ve seen on a golf course, all due respect to Pebble Beach.
The dunes and the way the course winds through them is a bit wild and quirky, with many blind shots and oddball bells to ring or buttons to push to let the group behind know it’s okay to tee off (photos below). The tremendous layout, visuals, dunes, shoreline and vibe make Cruden Bay one of the most memorable golf experiences I’ve ever had.
I’ll go into further detail on Cruden Bay in a forthcoming review. Stay tuned.
Here’s a recap of the first half of perhaps the best single day of golf I’ve ever experienced, the HOG World Tour visit to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. Royal Aberdeen was the morning session on the 2nd day of the tremendous 2016 “Lads in Scotland” tour. The Lads are my group of good friends who get together every two years to golf in Scotland. The evening session was Cruden Bay. Stay tuned on that one.
About Royal Aberdeen
Royal Aberdeen is a fabulous links course located in the northeast of Scotland, about a 2-3 hour drive north of St. Andrews. Golf was first played on the grounds back in 1780, making it the sixth oldest golf club in the world. The clubhouse, staff, and grounds represent great history and a high class club.
In recent history, Royal Aberdeen hosted the 2014 Scottish Open. During the 2014 Scottish open Phil Mickelson was defending his title. Rory McIlory carded the course record, 64. Justin Rose came away with the victory.
My golf experience at Royal Aberdeen was tremendous. I played fairly well, not losing a ball in fairly high winds. The back nine had some serious teeth as we were coming home directly into the wind.
In the photo above I nailed a solid 4-iron to the par-3 17th green, looking out over the North Sea.
I will post a full review of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club down the blog road. Stay tuned.