Golf Digest Videos

Every Hole at Cabot Cliffs in Inverness, Nova Scotia

Award winning Canadian golf writer, Lorne Rubenstein, narrates this spectacular flyover tour and overview of Cabot Cliffs Golf Course in Inverness, Nova Scotia.

Released on 4/15/2019

Credits

Director: Christian Iooss

Transcript

00:00
[upbeat music]
00:01
[Lorne] Cabot Cliffs opened only in 2016
00:04
but it quickly became known as one of
00:06
the world's best courses, ranking ninth
00:09
on Golf Digest's most recent world ranking.
00:12
The course sits on the western shore
00:14
of the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia
00:16
and is open to the public.
00:19
It's an adventure from start to finish
00:21
as it roams above the Gulf of Saint Lawrence,
00:24
moving inland into the forest and back to the sea.
00:28
This is Every Hole at Cabot Cliffs.
00:34
Cliffs, as visitors soon called the course,
00:36
provides long, unimpeded views
00:38
of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
00:40
The golfer finds a rumpled, wide fairway
00:42
that offers choices about how to play each shot.
00:46
A cross bunker short of the green
00:48
is as much a directional as it is a hazard.
00:51
The green sweeps left to right,
00:53
welcoming a shot curving that way.
00:57
Longer hitters can go for the green on their second shots
01:00
while the player who lays up must decide
01:02
where to do so based on the pin position.
01:07
This hole moves from an elevated tee into the dunes.
01:10
Riley Johns, one of the shapers on the team
01:13
of architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw,
01:16
refers to it being in one of the rooms,
01:18
or compartments, that comprise the property.
01:20
Dunes here, forest and oceanfront elsewhere.
01:25
An unusual area of water and scrub flows
01:28
into a high dune and bunker configuration
01:31
that partly obscures the green.
01:33
The idea is to hit one's tee shot right or left
01:36
of the almost V-shaped feature to get a view of the green.
01:41
From the tee, the golfer will notice a bunker
01:43
shaped like a teardrop etched into and dividing
01:45
the higher ground that forms the left side
01:47
of the fairway from the lower right side.
01:50
The golfer is rewarded for driving
01:51
their tee ball into this elevated region,
01:54
allowing an approach that takes advantage
01:56
of the entire left to right sloping green.
01:58
The green does fall away to the right,
02:00
so one must be careful on the approach.
02:02
To miss the green here by a little
02:04
might mean you've missed it by a lot,
02:06
as the ball will tend to run on and away from the green.
02:11
During construction, Riley Johns won
02:14
the Golf World MacKenzie Society
02:16
co-sponsored Lido Design Contest
02:18
that year with a par three hole.
02:21
Coore and Crenshaw let him build it
02:22
as an alternate to their existing hole here.
02:25
The result is two par threes, four A and four B,
02:28
the former playing for the left green
02:30
and the latter to the right green.
02:32
The property offers many such
02:34
opportunities for creative expression.
02:38
The left side of the fairway here sits hard against marsh,
02:41
almost seeming to have been carved out of the landscape.
02:44
This classic cape hole invites the golfer to cut off
02:46
as much or as little of the corner as preferred.
02:52
The fairway swoops around the hazard.
02:54
The favorable circumstances of a right-to-left wind
02:57
and the general movement of the ground
02:59
will make it possible for the aggressive golfer
03:01
to drive close to the green.
03:05
This par three is the last of
03:06
the holes in the first dunes room.
03:08
Margaree Island in the Gulf is in full view.
03:11
The green tucked between dunes will remind
03:13
well-traveled golfers of the entrance
03:15
to the 11th green at Ballybunion.
03:18
Walking into the green setting
03:19
is indeed like walking into a room.
03:21
Cliffs of fjords, many enchanting walks,
03:24
this one is a highlight.
03:28
This immense par five incorporates water, marsh,
03:30
and a line of bunkers on the right side
03:32
of the drive zone that can draw one's eyes
03:34
away from the spacious fairway to the left.
03:39
The double fairway, split by a spine
03:41
running through the middle,
03:42
comprises a lower left and a higher right side.
03:50
The green moves right to left
03:52
with two bunkers at the left front flank.
03:55
The prudent shot into the green is from the right side.
04:04
Here we emerge from the forest to enjoy
04:06
a thrilling view past the green to the Gulf.
04:11
Cliffs is dazzling in many ways,
04:13
not the least being its outburst
04:15
of nature's gifts and bounty.
04:17
The view out to sea feels endless, but be careful.
04:20
You have golf to play and a few bunkers to avoid.
04:27
Onward to the ninth, a par three with a massive green
04:30
perched above the beach and behind a large bunker.
04:33
A crease or ridge runs across the green.
04:35
Does one run the ball through the crease
04:37
or try to carry it should the hole be cut toward the rear?
04:40
What's the right club?
04:42
The correct flight pattern and trajectory?
04:44
Cliffs always poses such questions and puzzles.
04:50
The separation of land and sea is starkly apparent
04:53
on this hole that cruises along a clifftop.
04:55
The beach and the sea parallel the hole
04:57
all the way to the green,
04:59
with the wild ground of a ravine slicing into the fairway.
05:02
Playing to the right side of the fairway
05:04
affords an approach to the green
05:06
that effectively skirts the valley in front.
05:09
This makes the green play smaller
05:10
because you are playing into its width
05:12
rather than its length.
05:18
Cliffs is meant for walking.
05:19
Two closely-mown paths clear the way ahead of the tee
05:23
and open into and merge with the broad fairway.
05:26
The fairway narrows between a bunker to the right
05:28
and rough and bush to the left
05:30
before opening to a raised exposed green
05:32
with the Gulf to its left.
05:35
It's easy to feel confused as to what sort of shot to play,
05:38
which is the essence of strategic, risk-reward golf.
05:42
The 12th plays from 108 to 245 yards to a green
05:47
protected by a wide bunker at the front right.
05:50
When the hole is cut to the rear right,
05:52
a high tee shot over the bunker on that line
05:54
is required to get into the area.
05:56
A fade for a right-handed golfer
05:58
to avoid the bunker could be the correct shot.
06:01
The wind can blow a gale at this green,
06:04
which is close to the sea.
06:07
This par four starts another compartment of three holes.
06:10
The golfer turns inland and away from the Gulf.
06:13
The hill short of the green makes the hole
06:16
because it asks the player to hit over it
06:18
or risk the ball coming to a stop
06:20
in a collision or even reversing course.
06:23
Crenshaw and Coore are devotees of links golf.
06:26
They know how much fun it is to wonder
06:27
where a blind shot to a green finishes.
06:30
The hill and the green's contours make this all possible.
06:34
On terrain as varied as Cliffs,
06:36
architects and shapers will inevitably
06:38
find or uncover features.
06:40
The surprise here was a rocky hump short of the green
06:43
that sets up the strategy of this hole.
06:46
Best to carry the hump, yet a tee shot that goes too far
06:49
could run into the bunker or woods beyond.
06:52
The great Canadian golfer
06:54
George Knudson's dictum comes to mind.
06:56
Make a firm decision as to the shot you planned.
06:59
In other words, commit.
07:04
Here is an epic journey to a green
07:05
where the Gulf and Margaree Island
07:07
are in full background view.
07:09
The fairway is higher on the left,
07:11
allowing the player whose drive finishes there
07:13
a clear route to the green.
07:16
The shorter hitter has room into which
07:17
he can play his second and then approach
07:20
the green against the background of sea and sky.
07:23
This is a classic big par five
07:25
where any score and every score is possible.
07:29
The drama of this showstopper par three
07:32
where the green sits on a promontory
07:33
across a craggy inlet a hundred feet above
07:36
the sea is immediately apparent.
07:39
This wow hole was obvious to Coore and Crenshaw
07:42
when they first saw the setting.
07:44
It's often compared to the famous
07:45
par three 16th at Cypress Point.
07:48
Do you play across the inlet at the green,
07:51
or safely to fairway to the left?
07:55
Riley Johns calls the hole a masterpiece of engineering.
07:59
It is unforgettable.
08:01
The Cabot ramble continues along a fairway
08:04
that tumbles to a green sitting above the beach.
08:07
Play safely with an iron to the left
08:09
and at the top of the fairway that falls freely.
08:13
The ball might just run all the way down to the green
08:16
or take the direct route across a chasm
08:18
to try to drive the green.
08:20
But the Gulf is right there, no room to miss to the right.
08:23
Laying up too far to the left will bring
08:25
the two green-side bunkers into play.
08:28
This hole takes some knowing.
08:29
The more one plays it,
08:31
the more it reveals its many possibilities.
08:41
The adventure concludes with a par five
08:43
along a broad fairway high above the beach.
08:46
A long strip bunker protects the right side
08:48
of the green all along its length.
08:52
Approaching the green, the golfer becomes aware
08:54
of a collection of lawn chairs to its left.
08:58
It's as if an invitation is being issued.
09:01
Come on over, sit down with your friends,
09:02
have a drink, and savor what you have just experienced.
09:06
It's almost impossible to resist the invitation,
09:09
and why would you.
09:14
Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs are two memorable,
09:16
even startling, courses in a remote
09:19
northeast corner of Canada.
09:21
The environment feels torn from Scotland,
09:23
as in fact it was, geological eons ago.
09:28
Take a local caddy for advice, color, and stories.
09:31
You will feel refreshed after a day in the bracing air.
09:34
Here, you will not only play golf, you will live golf.
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