Cabot Links: Instant Classic Unites Sea And Sky In Cape Breton
There is special. And then there’s special. Welcome to Cabot Links.
Where God has touched the Cape Breton landscape, the American architectural duo of Bill Coore and former Masters winner Ben Crenshaw has adapted it to golf courses so stunning they instantly become classics.
So it was with Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links in bucolic Inverness, Nova Scotia. Already Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links are listed as two of Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The men who’d made Oregon’s Bandon Dunes into the touchstone for great natural design were unleashed on the shoreline of this Cape Breton town.
The result was Cabot Cliffs being named Golf Digest’s New Course of the Year in 2015, while Score Magazine vaulted the Cliffs to No. 1 course in Canada with the Links at No. 4.
Running from beside the harbour where lobster fishermen ply their trade up to towering cliffs north of town where terns and gulls hold sway, the two Cabot courses contrast each other and challenge the player.
With its massive palette, Cabot Cliffs quickly reminded me of The Plantation in Maui, another Crenshaw/ Coore creation. With vistas so massive and views that marry sky and sea, it’s audacious even as it expresses the natural beauty of the land. Shots across gaping chasms, fairways that hug the marshland and textured greens that require a precision approach— the Cliffs is an epic treat.
By contrast, the Links spends more of its time at sea level, hugging the sandy beaches that border Cabot Cove. A marriage of the dunes and the original marram grass that created links land, it teases the golfer with broad fairways and demanding shots into its testing greens.
Everywhere at The Links, the wind is a constant companion. Make your bones when you’re downwind because the snapping breezes off the water will turn any lengthy shot into a challenge. Weather is rarely benign in this part of the world, so come prepared for every iteration of sunshine, wind, rain and very, occasionally, snow.
Adding to the genuine feel is the presence of caddies attired in their traditional whites. Our caddy, a student at Dalhousie, steered us around the 36 holes to make a first-time visitor feel welcome. The recision of an experienced eye is the best way to enjoy a first visit.
Because as picture is worth a thousand words (but not a five-foot gimme), here is the splendour of Cabot in living colour courtesy of my own camera.. For more information go to https://www.cabotlinks.com/golf/cabot-cliffs/ . Cabot Links can be reached via Sydney or Halifax Airport or by private plane into the local Inverness airfield.