Over the past half decade or so, golf fans have flocked to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to experience two of the top ranked courses in the world: Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links.
Perhaps the most unique feature of both courses is that while located on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, they face a western waterway. This allows for spectacular sunset views similar to those one finds on the West Coast (think Pebble Beach).
While the courses are virtually right next to one another they each have a different look and feel.
Links, built first, is as the name suggests a super linksy course. Close google maps on your phone and you might think you have been transported to a course in a small Scottish town. On one side of the course rests a small town, sights of Church steeples and local homes are in the not so distant view. On the other side rests a salt water harbor so large you cannot see from one side to the other. On this 2022 visit the course was playing fast and firm. So firm in fact that my group comically struggled to get our tees in the ground.
The second course, The Cliffs, has even more dramatic views of the ocean (if this could be possible). We lined up each day to play the Cliffs in the afternoon which led to beautiful twilight golf each day. We loved this course and the experience, but the 16th and 17th holes are a bit strange. You could see that the designers (Coore – Crenshaw) wanted to take advantage of the shoreline and sunset views but didn’t have the exact right elements to perfect the holes. 16 in particular is a par three over a beautiful cliff. The issue, is that on a course so fast and firm, you can’t really land the ball directly on the green and hold the ball, nor is there a sensible bail out like you see on say 16 at Cypress.
Nevertheless, the whole experience at Cabot is for sure worth the trip. There are rumors of a third course in the works which will make the resort even better I am sure.
Some other photos: