Reading the reviews and inevitable accolades piling in it is clearly an exciting time to be affiliated with Cabot Links. The course; correction, courses, are located in Inverness, Nova Scotia. It has quickly become the mecca of golf in Canada; a true golfing destination now with 36 holes and a completed resort facility, restaurant, and practice facilities. And while I could argue that Cabot was the crown jewel of a pre-existing golfing destination – Cape Breton Island itself – Cabot’s 36 holes will hold allure on its own for golfers across Canada and around the world. Both courses are well positioned within the Golf Digest Top 100 List, so there’s no arguing their quality.
But having played the Links course in 2013, it is the golfing experience which was new and so pure. And it is these memories which stoke my anticipation about a return trip and visiting the new Cliffs course. While I have written about my golf experience at Cabot Links, in almost three years I have never experienced a golf course like it. I was forced to play shots I never experienced. The course, unlike any other, seemed so well suited to the land and the sea. Add to this, genuine maritime hospitality (and lobster sliders, I mean, c’mon) and it was the most authentic golf experience of my life.
But now there is a new course, arguably better than the original. Building on the excellence of Links, the Cliffs course brings some unique elements – 6 par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s. Signature holes? The stunning 16th is getting a lot of love. But in seeing the pictures when the course was originally shaped I can think of about 10 signature holes. This embarrassment of riches creates a level of anticipation I have not experienced since the opening of Links.I would be remised if I did not follow up on an earlier point to mention the proximity of Links/Cliffs to other outstanding experiences and golf on Cape Breton Island. Scotch aficionados will need to make their way south to the Glenora Inn and Distillery. There is the world class Cabot Trail, one of the country’s best driving experiences. For an authentic seafood experience travel to Baddeck for the Baddeck Lobster Supper. While in town get 18 in at Bell Bay Golf Club, which is hosting a Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada) stop. Cape Breton Highlands National Park hosts the iconic and perennial top 10 course in Canada, Highlands Links, a Stanley Thompson gem. You could also visit The Lakes Golf Club and round out your golf experience. If you’re traveling to Cape Breton, take advantage of the opportunity to experience more than just Cabot.
But for this Canadian Bucket List dreamer, Cabot Cliffs now assumes a rightful place on top of my list. Anticipation is a wonderful thing and will only make the experience of eventually teeing it up at Cliffs (and Links again) as a highlight among many fabulous golf experiences across this country.
There’s just something about Cape Breton Island, the Maritimes overall really, that just does my spirit good. Congratulations on your successful opening and continued success to Ben Cowan-Dewar and the entire team at Cabot.