Cruden Bay is a great, charismatic and often eccentric golf course. Above all, it is sporty and fun. Many consider the sequence of holes from the third to the eighth to be among the best in golf. The starkly contrasting back nine provide some of the quirkiest holes ever built. Among them: the ‘blind’ approach to a bathtub green (fourteenth); a massively long and ‘blind’ par-3 over a hill (fifteenth); and the semi-‘blind’ par-3 to a steep, backward declining green (sixteenth). Not surprisingly, this back-nine collection of holes has become somewhat of a Cruden Bay trademark to its many visitors.
We initially got involved when Cruden Bay was thinking about making big changes to their holes 14-16, and luckily were able to dissuade the club to materially alter these holes. As part of this exercise we wrote an extensive master plan for the restoration of the Simpson elements of the course that had been lost over time.
We then helped the club restore a number of bunkers on holes 1,2,4 and 5 and build new tees on hole 13 with a more interesting angle and view sea views. We also completely rebuilt the entrance into the famous bathtub green of hole 14 where through the years about 1 m of sand had been building up, making it impossible to effectively maintain the fore-green.
Then in 2007 the club discovered that they owned more land at the end of their property than they thought, which allowed for the construction of a 19th hole. IVGD was tasked with designing a par 3 hole that both could be played from the high bluffs but also along the beach. The hole was built in 2008 and has been a fixture of the course ever since then, on and off being used as a spare hole in case a hole is out of play. Reactions to the new hole have been very favorable, especially from visitors who have been asking to see the hole included in the routing.