Cabot Links is located in the remote town of Inverness in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The links is partly located in an old coal mining site and runs along the coast and hard against the town
Ben Cowan-Dewar is the man behind the project and when Ben partnered with Mike Keiser of Bandon Dunes fame, they set about putting Nova Scotia on the golfing map.
Not surprisingly the business model is similar to that at Bandon Dunes with multiple links courses, walking only courses, with terrific accommodation and dining options.
Rod Whitman was chosen to design the first course- called Cabot Links- and he did a wonderful job, pulling the various components together cohesively to mould a traditional links course.
All holes are exposed to the conditions, and one can imagine there would be wild windy days at Cabot.
Consequently many of the fairways are wide and forgiving- but I thought Cabot Links was more of a second shot course.
When we played the course it was in near drought conditions with the fairways brownish and dry and running, and the greens perhaps a tad too firm and bouncy for comfort, even for a true links course.
We soon learned to adjust and bounce the ball in wherever possible.
There are many highlights at Cabot:
- the huge biarritz green on the long par 3 second hole
- the short strategic par 4 third hole- do you lay up off the tee?
- the strong uphill par 4 fourth hole with an elevated green protected by bunkers front- with greens firm and wind assisting it can be hard to stop a ball on the green
- the delightful elevated par 3 fifth hole
- the cape style par 4 sixth hole around the water with fishing boats behind the green
- the nicely bunkered short par 3 seventh hole
- the significant carry on the par 5 eighth hole, and then double green target blind over the dune- a most confusing hole if you don’t have a caddy!
- the brilliant uphill par 5 eleventh hole- possibly the best hole on the course
- the strong par 4 thirteenth hole with scary tee shot over the reeds and then over an elevated set of bunkers to reach a fairway above and beyond them…
Cabot Links is a strong first course for the Cabot Links Resort, and combined with its junior sibling Cabot Cliffs forms one of the great new golf destinations in the world.
I think in time Cabot Links will improve.
The signature hole, the very very short downhill par 3 fourteenth hole with its skyline green, is spectacular but way too short.
In my opinion there is plenty of room and the tee could be moved back to make for a nice full short iron shot rather than a half wedge.
I think that signage and more descriptive course guides would eliminate the problems on eight where none of the groups around us had any clue where they were heading.
These are teething problems, and they will be worked through- but the underlying product is a delightful links course in a remote part of the world that deserves to be on all golfers bucket lists
In the Area
If you head to Cabot Links of course you should play Cabot Cliffs as well. Golfers should also visit Highland Links and make a round trip of it.
Drive the Cabot Trail, take a whale watching cruise, sample the wares of the Glenora Whisky distillery- it all makes for a delightful few days
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Canada to suit your group.
For suggestion on itineraries see Golf Destinations: Canada
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