Cruden Bay Golf Club - 9th tee
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - 9th tee
The view off of the elevated ninth tee at Cruden Bay Golf Club is simply fantastic. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
Cruden Bay Golf Club - St. Olaf Course
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - St. Olaf Course
The first view golfers see at Cruden Bay Golf Club is actually the nine holes of the St. Olaf Course in the gorse. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 1
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 1
The first hole eases players into the round at Cruden Bay Golf Club in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 7
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 7
The seventh hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club snakes uphill between dunes. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - 2nd green
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - 2nd green
The second green at Cruden Bay Golf Club is severely elevated. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 4
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 4
The par-3 fourth hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club plays longer than the 195 yards imply. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 5
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 5
The epic fifth hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club winds through the dunes, playing a mean 505 yards from the tips. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 6
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 6
A burn makes life difficult on the par-5 sixth hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 8
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 8
A look back from the eighth green reveals the beauty of Cruden Bay Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 9
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 9
The ninth hole is the no. 1 handicap at Cruden Bay Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - 14th
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - 14th
It's a blind approach to the sunken 14th green at Cruden Bay Golf Club in Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 15
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 15
Two golfers walk up the 15th hole to a blind green at Cruden Bay Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 16
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 16
Cruden Bay Golf Club features back-to-back par 3s at no. 15 (foreground) and no. 16 (background). Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 16 changes
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Cruden Bay Golf Club - hole 16 changes
The par-3 16th hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club was revamped in 2014. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Cruden Bay Golf Club in Scotland: Modernizing a classic Old Tom Morris links

ABERDEENSHIRE, Scotland -- Altering a classic links by Old Tom Morris dating to 1899 can be tricky business. Cruden Bay Golf Club seems to have pulled it off with universal appeal.

Earlier this year, the firm of Tom McKenzie & Martin Ebert transformed the weak transition hole at no. 9 into a memorable 461-yard par 4. Its new elevated tee overlooks the links, beach and the pounding surf of the North Sea. With three bunkers and out of bounds on the right and the fairway shifted left, the new ninth now rates as the hardest hole on the golf course.

The par-4 10th hole has shifted left to feature a more interesting downhill tee shot. A burn crossing the fairway lurks right of the green on the approach. The terrain approaching the par-3 16th hole, called "Coffins," has also been altered to allow more of a ground game.

What hasn't been tinkered with is Cruden Bay's quirky -- and beloved -- personality.

The third hole, which plays 274 yards from the 6,261-yard white tees, introduces the first of three blind shots during the round. A bathtub green sunken into the dunes confounds first-timers on the par-4 14th hole. Balls hit short tend to funnel down to the hidden green. The blind tee shot of the par-3 15th hole requires a slight draw around a dune to a large green. Already ranked among the top 100 courses in the world by several publications, the new and improved Cruden Bay Golf Club could see a bump the next time rankings are released.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Cruden Bay Golf Club in Scotland: Modernizing a classic Old Tom Morris links
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