I had a hunch that the Cabot Cliffs layout being built on the western shores of Cape Breton was going to be something special. After all, I had heard rave reports from savvy golfing friends of visits to that scenic site just up the road from the acclaimed Cabot Links course. In addition, I had chatted about the project with the architects, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and it was hard not to discern their enthusiasm for Cliffs and what they were creating. But I was still staggered by what I saw when I was finally able to walk the property.
Cabot Cliffs is routed on land that lies some 250 feet above the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Coore and Crenshaw found a way to put 10 of the holes directly on the coast. They also came up with an intriguing configuration, with 6 par-3s, six par-4s and six par-5s. More than anything else, that will ensure that the Cliffs is a true shotmaker’s course and will compel players to use every club in their bags.
Golfers also will have to find a way to use every descriptive adjective in their vocabulary to describe the sheer majesty of many of the holes. Especially the four finishers. The par-5 15th plays downhill to a smartly bunkered green back by the gulf, while No. 16 is a par-3 roughly 190 yards in length that channels the hole of that same number at hallowed Cypress Point. The tee shot on this beauty, over a deep chasm to a green guarded by a quartet of bunkers, is a heart-thumper. And my pulse only quickens as I move on to 17 and 18, and have to hit drives over gaping chasms on those holes as well.
The course at Cabot Cliffs is still under construction and is not due to open until the summer of 2015. And my not-so-wild prediction is that when it does, it will rocket to the upper reaches of the world golf rankings just like its sister track Cabot Links, giving that destination two of the top tracks on the globe.