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