The Exciting Debut of Cape Breton’s Cabot Cliffs Golf Course
Maybe it’s the success of Cabot Links, the walking-only course opened in 2012 near the dunes and long stretch of beach in Inverness. Perhaps it’s the fact that Cabot Links is co-owned by Mike Keiser, the man who created the sensation known as Bandon Dunes, the 5 links courses on the southern Oregon coast. Or that Keiser hired the talented tandem of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore to design their latest offering, Cabot Cliffs. Having just toured both courses with golf pro emeritus, Joe Robinson, I can easily say it’s the stunning scenery that has generated the most buzz, straight out of Scotland, where the craggy shoreline and bluffs rise from the beach below. Whatever the reason, Cabot Links is now one of the hottest golfing destinations in North America. Hotel occupancy rate is at a whopping 98% through September, enough demand that the resort is trying hard to add to its 72 rooms and 15 two and four-bedroom villas.
Peering at the green of the 16th hole at Cabot Cliffs, across the jagged shoreline and the pounding sea below, is an incredible sight and very intimidating, the reason why Joe insists that all first-time golfers at the resort use a caddy. Even if you want to carry your own clubs, you should hire a caddy strictly for advice on how to approach each hole. The fairways are generous but they play firm and fast and there’s natural gypsum jutting up from the ground to create another intriguing obstacle to one hole. Wildflowers like rose hips line the course and it’s not uncommon, says Joe, to spot moose, bald eagles, and whales fluking in the distance. After all, this is Cape Breton we’re talking about.
(Photo by Michael Berger)