Alterations are being made to the course at Cruden Bay Golf Club in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Led by architect Tom Mackenzie of the Mackenzie & Ebert firm, a series of changes are being made to the ninth, tenth, and sixteenth holes at the links course, originally designed by Tom Morris and Archie Simpson.
GCA spoke to Mackenzie about the specifics of the project and the benefits the work will bring for players.
“The project involves a major revamp of the ninth hole to turn it from being a link hole across the end of a farmers field to a links hole that is worthy of Cruden Bay,” said Mackenzie. “The design process started back around the millennium when I was working with Donald Steel, and we first mooted the idea of moving the tee to make more use of the spectacular vantage point where the blue tee is right now and to slide the hole left so that it plays around the hill rather than up and over it.”
The new green on the ninth hole at Cruden Bay
Mackenzie visited the hole last year and recommended that the best position for the new green would be on the existing yellow tee on the tenth hole.
“This would turn a hole with a blind teeshot and, for most, a blind approach into one with an inviting downhill teeshot and an approach where the green is visible for most players,” he explained. “It also makes best use of a steep drop away that will run all along the left of the hole.”
Work being carried out on the tenth hole
The tees on the tenth hole are being relocated, with the teeshot to now play down a valley with a diagonal carry across what Mackenzie describes as ‘some wild country and ditch.’
“This is a much improved shot and also alleviates a safety issue with the eleventh green,” he said.
Work is also being carried out to soften the approach to the sixteenth hole and the front section of the green.
A view down to the sixteenth hole
“We’ve also focused on improving the sixteenth hole so that when the course is playing at its firmest and best, it will be a good test of links golf,” Mackenzie explained. “It had become so severe over the years with a build up of blown sand that it became a lottery when firm. The sand has been put to good use in building the new ninth green and tenth tees, but the logistics of taking more than a thousand tons of sand up a huge hill in dreadful weather has proved to be a real challenge!”
The project will be ongoing over the course of the winter.