Published on July 6th, 2012 | by Jeff Shelman0
Cabot Links: My #1 Want-to-Play Course
I have been fortunate in that I’ve gotten to play golf on some wonderful courses. I’ve played courses that have hosted major championships. I have been to Pinehurst, Myrtle Beach, Scottsdale and Florida. I haven’t been to Pebble Beach, but I’m not sure it’s on the list in part because of the $495 guest fee.
For the longest time, I had my eyes set on a trip to Bandon Dunes. I have yet to talk to anybody who has gone and had a bad time. There are four regulation courses designed by interesting architects. There are the views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s all about walking. There’s the remote location. And it’s all about golf, which keeps the cart, beers and cigars crowd away.
Bandon is certainly near the top of my list, but based on what I have read and seen online, Cabot Links has moved to the front of the line.
Located in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada, Cabot Links might be even more remote than Bandon Dunes. It’s located more than four hours by car from Halifax and is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Cabot Links is one of the highest profile course openings in recent years in North America. That Mike Keiser of Bandon Dunes fame is involved in the project isn’t a surprise.
Early reviews of the true links course – designed by Canadian architect Rod Whitman – are very good.
Bob Weeks of Canada’s Score Golf summed it up like this after playing during last weekend’s opening.
“I’m not sure how to describe the course other than to say it is amazing. Right now, 24 hours after we teed off, I can remember every hole, every shot I hit and just how I would play it again the next time. As with any links course, Cabot offers you a multitude of ways to play every hole. I tried bumping and running, knockdown shots, high-flyers, and taking indirect ways to reach the bottom of the cup. It was fun and invigorating.”
I think the remote location is a large part of it. It is an escape. It’s a place where I’m probably not going to get very good cell phone coverage, it’s a place where I can avoid work emails and it’s a place where I can simply immerse myself in the game.
The New York Times wrote about just that topic when writing about Cabot Links. In the story, there are two wonderful quotes:
“If familiarity breeds contempt, then nonfamiliarity breeds mystique,” said Mike Hughes, the chief executive of the National Golf Course Owners Association. “And the more isolated you become, the more you buy into it. People going that far for golf focus on the golf exclusively and leave their cellphones and e-mails behind. They’re also usually playing spectacular golf courses.”
“We have seen year after year that oceanside and links is a magical golf formula, and being out of the way has not been a disadvantage,” Keiser said. “The trip invests you in the experience.”
When will I get there? I can’t imagine still getting there in 2012, but I very much want to get there in 2013. The place looks fantastic. And it has moved to the top of my list.