Cape Breton’s newest golf course receiving rave reviews.
Breathtaking views and challenging but satisfying playing conditions are frequent descriptions of Cape Breton’s newest golf course.
Cabot Cliffs opened for preview play on July 1 and golfers from across North America have been lining up to easily fill the course’s limited round-per-day quota.
“We are delighted to be here. This is a special moment,” said Dick Pierpont, a longtime golfer from Jacksonville, Fla.
“Visually it is more exciting than most courses you will see. It is physically demanding as some, but it is visually exciting.”
Dramatic cliffs, coastal dunes and ocean views are among the visuals many note when they first see the new course, which has already grabbed international attention and media acclaim.
“We came out to visit our friends and and explore this,” Larry Henderson, an Ottawa resident, said just before tee-off on Tuesday.
“This is almost like Ireland and I’ve been to Ireland a few times. My buddy said ‘ You have to come out and play the Cliffs and the Links,’ and this has been a great opportunity for us to do both. It’s just wonderful and a beautiful day.”
Reviews from organizations like the Golf Channel and TSN have been just as complimentary.
“Everybody sort of comes in with a big smile and it’s hard not to,” said Ben Cowan-Dewar, a managing partner for the course. “We’ve had a great two weeks of weather and it’s such an amazing landscape.”
So far, there’s been no consensus on the best hole at the course and that’s something CowanDewar thinks is a good thing.
“I think the golf of course is so good partly because Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore are terrific at what they do but I think it’s the landscape they had to work on that makes it so special,” he said.
Cowan-Dewar noted a front nine that takes players down into sand down near the beach and close to the water, and holes high on cliffs that overlook beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s just wild to be able to cover that kind of ground in one round of golf.”
Construction of the new 18hole course began in 2013 following the success of Cabot Links, which is just a few kilometres up the road.
The opening of Cabot Cliffs has attracted people to Inverness from across Nova Scotia, Ontario and the United States, just like its partner course. However, the addition of the second course to the community has meant people are staying longer.
“It is now more of a destination. People come for a couple of days and play both courses. It’s that much more compelling,” said Cowan-Dewar.
As a result, the resort hotel at Cabot Links has been expanded from 48 to 76 rooms this year to accommodate increased visitors and longer stays.
While Cowan-Dewar said there is an incredible sense of satisfaction with their progress to date, there’s more to do.
“If we weren’t dreamers we wouldn’t be here in the first place, so we have lots of dreams.”
The current preview play will mean a limit of 48 rounds per day in July and about 60 in August and September. The limits will allow the turf to mature and grow in advance of the full opening in 2016.
“I think the biggest thing will be to try to get Cliffs in great shape for next year and to get the right number of rooms so we can ac- commodate people,” he said.
“I think when we built it the first time we hoped people would come. Now that we see people are coming we need to make sure we have the right experience. I think it’s that sort of straight forward stuff we need to focus on.”
Various ocean views are available at the Cabot Cliffs golf course, which opened for preview play on July 1. This one gives people about to tee off a clear look at Inverness beach.
Ottawa resident Larry Shannon drives the No. 1 hole at Cabot Cliffs on Tuesday. He was visiting a friend in the area and tried out Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links.
Ben Cowan-Dewar sits Tuesday at a popular rest area in the middle of the new Cabot Cliffs golf course in Inverness. The course opened for preview play on July 1.