Cabot Cliffs

Cape Bre­ton’s new­est golf course re­ceiv­ing rave re­views.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY GREG MCNEIL gm­c­neil@cb­post.com

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.”

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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