Cabot Cliffs is the second course at the Cabot Links Resort in Nova Scotia. Designed by Coore + Crenshaw, Cliffs is a special addition to the top courses around the world.
Cabot Links, designed by Rod Whitman was the original course at Cabot, and with it's success the Mike Keiser blueprint for resort golf is being wheeled out as it did at Bandon Dunes, Barnbougle Dunes and others.
Build it and they will come!
The formula is quality links courses, presumably by the sea- with great accommodation and meal options, walking golf with caddies- all top end. The American market can afford it, and can't get enough if it in Bandon- and the same model will roll out now with different resorts around the globe...
Once the first course breaks through, the second course is icing on the cake. As Keiser says 1 plus 1 equals 3 when it comes to quality golf courses! At Cliffs this is certainly proving the case, and now plans to incorporate a par 3 course, more accommodation, and at some stage another course will be brought forward. it is all very exciting!
Ben Cowan-Dewar is the man behind the project- a former golf tour operator- he saw the potential for a course in Nova Scotia, and with government support he and his business partner teamed with Mike Keiser to bring Cabot Links to fruition.
Coore Crenshaw are known as one of the elite design firms of the world with a long list of top courses on their list of achievements including Sand Hills, Bandon Trails, The Colorado Club, Friar’s Head etc…
I believe Cabot Cliffs will be regarded amongst the best work they have done. Having played Cabot Cliffs just once, I would place it right at the top of that list with Sand Hills and in my mind it is clearly one of the best courses in the world.
The site that Cabot Cliffs traverses is surprisingly diverse. One expects the rolling dunescape along the cliffs, but the course also moves through marshland, and inland through woodlands, and meadows, and up and own through significant elevation change along the way.
The routing is brilliant, taking you to and from the sea, and those cliffs, constantly changing direction. I found myself excited as holes unfolded before us for the first time, and while I wanted to commit these holes to memory, and enjoy every moment, there was an intense anticipation about what was around the next corner. The cliff holes will be the picture postcard holes, but I think the inland holes are equally as good.
Given the exposure to the weather it is important to play The Cliffs from an appropriate tee, and first time around I would recommend the use of a forward tee to ensure maximum enjoyment. Having said that the configuration of 6 par 3’s, 6 par 4’s and 6 par 5’s makes the course play a little shorter than a more traditional course set up.
The green complexes are nicely sculpted without being overdone, and the bunkering, which I think is a strength of Coore Crenshaw courses is beautiful.
There are no weak holes at Cabot, but I would have to play the short par 4 seventeenth hole a number of times in different conditions off different tees to come to a conclusion as to the merit of the hole. It certainly has a spectacular tee shot, and amazing green setting, but I am not sure about much else..
Cabot Cliffs is a brilliant golf course, and goes straight into my personal top ten courses in the world.
Favourite holes include:
- the brilliant par 4 second hole with elevated tee shot to a tight fairway surrounded by trouble, and an elevated green tucked behind impressive bunkering. Depending on which tee you play off, you may be better to lay up off the tee to allow yourself to play an accurate short approach and a birdie chance
- the short par 4 third hole
- the intriguing par 3 fourth hole with two greens!
- the picturesque ‘cape’ style par 4 fifth hole
- the downhill par 3 sixth hole with a punchbowl green set in a cluster of dunes
- the amazing par 5 seventh hole with a long carry required to clear the marshland and cliffs beyond, strategically placed fairway bunkers, and diagonal green complex sitting right to left for the approach.
- the short par 3 ninth hole, with skyline green
- the clifftop par 5 tenth hole with gully protruding in front of the green
- the par 3 fourteenth hole with enormous rock in the front bunker defining the look of the hole
- the short par 3 sixteenth hole, which plays from clifftop to clifftop, and is destined to be one of the famous holes in world golf. It is a thrill to play, although the front left pin can be a little mickey mouse from the ladies tees. The pin positions more right and central present a much more dramatic and visual hole.
Cabot Cliffs is a Travelling Golfer ‘must play’.
In the Area
Visitors to Cabot Cliffs should plan on playing more than once. They would of course also play Cabot Links. If possible make a road trip out of it and also visit the Stanley Thompson masterpiece at Highland Links.
You can drive the Cabot Trail, go whale watching, and sample the wares of Glenora Whiskey distillery to make a memorable short trip.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor golf tours to Canada to suit your group. For suggestions on itineraries please refer to Great Golf Destinations: Canada: Nova Scotia, and Canada: Both Sides Now!
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