There has been a lot of hype leading up to the opening of Cabot Cliffs, the second course at the Cabot Links Golf Resort in Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Eighteen Under Par team was lucky enough to spend a couple of days at the resort playing both the original Links course as well as the Cliffs course. Although the Cliffs course was in “preview play” and not yet 100% complete, we can say with confidence that it is one of the best, if not the best, golf course we have ever played.
If you’re a golf fan, you have probably seen the amazing photos of the 16th par-three, reminiscent of the par-three 15th and 16th holes at Cypress Point. You hit your tee shot over rocky cliffs nearing 100 feet in height, across a beach and to a green that is roughly 180 yards away. The views don’t end there, as the next hole, the short par-four 17th, forces players to hit a blind tee shot over even more cliffs. Although these might be the signature holes, it is extremely difficult to pick a favourite on the course – every hole is so picturesque, particularly in the middle of the course from holes 8 to 13. If we had to choose though, our favourites would be the short par-three 9th and the par-five 15th.
The Cliffs course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and has a unique set up of six par-three’s, six par-four’s and six par-five’s, a request from Mike Keiser (creator of Bandon Dunes) to Coore and Crenshaw. The beginning of the Cliffs course starts along the ocean side, with the water in view at almost every hole. The middle of the course climbs up and out of dunes and takes you more inland for tree-lined holes, before returning to the ocean side from the 15th hole onwards.
Overall, it is golf course that will leave you smiling. Your senses will be overloaded with the phenomenal views from every hole and the sounds of crashing waves below you against the cliffs. It will definitely be one of the best golf experiences you’ll ever have. A new driving range is currently being built at the Cliffs course as well as a great real estate investment opportunities for villas and homes.
The original Links course is the only true links golf course in Canada and is one of the top-rated courses in Canada. Only three years old, it has breathed new life into the town of Inverness, which saw it’s residents struggle economically after the last of the area’s coal mines shut down in the late 1960’s. The course has just hosted the PGA Championship of Canada earlier this year and has even hosted some of the PGA TOUR’s best including Graeme McDowell, Graham DeLaet and even Matt Kuchar, who was there on vacation.
The course was shaped and designed by Canadian golf architect Rod Whitman and offers a true links golf experience. We played two rounds on the Links course, both in the morning, with winds blowing up to 20 miles per hour. It was one of the toughest, yet most fun, rounds of golf we’ve ever had. Like the Cliffs course, every hole is picturesque, particularly the par-three 14th hole, a short par-three that plays into the ocean. In addition to wind, bunkers and large, fairly complex greens add to the challenge of the Links course.
Getting a caddie from Cabot’s extensive caddie program is definitely worthwhile, particularly if it’s the first time you play the course. Having the guidance of lines to take off the tee and on the greens was essential in helping one of our team members shoot his career best score – their local knowledge will definitely shave a few strokes off your game and makes for an even more enjoyable round of golf and experience. We had the help of caddies at both the Links and the Cliffs courses and had an absolute blast – make sure to request for Ardell if you can!
— EighteenUnderPar.com (@18UnderParGolf) August 6, 2015
Overall, the Links and Cliffs course are very complimentary to each other. With just the Links, Cabot was just one golf course and perhaps just a Canadian golf destination. Now, with the addition of the Cliffs course, it is definitely a global golf destination.
“My philosophy is 1 plus 1 equals 3. One course is a curiosity, two is a destination.” – Mike Keiser
Aside from the golf, all of the other experiences at Cabot were five-star. From the hotel rooms, which feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Links course and the ocean, to the food at the Cabot Bar, Cabot Public House and Panorama Restaurant – everything about the Cabot resort was perfect. They even offered free fresh cookies before you tee off! Off the golf course, there are some great restaurants and coffee shops around with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter. Just a one minute drive away and you can take a stroll along Inverness Beach, which runs along the Links and Cliffs courses. Our week in Inverness was one of the most relaxing and fun filled golf vacations we’ve ever taken.
Currently (peak season May 29 – Oct 17), as a resort guest, green fees at the Links course starts at CAD $165 (CAD $195 for golf-only guests). The Cliffs course, in preview play, has green fees at CAD $150. If you decide to play two rounds in a day (which you should!), the replay rate is CAD $97.50. With the caliber of golf that you are receiving, these prices are a bargain. The courses that the Links and Cliffs courses are being compared to often have green fees two or three times the amount – which makes a trip to Inverness that much more attractive! Lodging rates start at CAD $245.
Our itinerary started with a flight from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) with a layover in Montreal (YUL). From there, it was a short, one hour flight into Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ). From Halifax, you would rent a car and drive about three to three and a half hours to Inverness, though pick-up service is available from Cabot itself. Since we’ve never been to Halifax before, we flew into the city and decided to explore before heading up to Inverness. In the future though, we will definitely fly into Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport (YQY), a smaller airport but closer to Inverness (about a two hour drive). Once we arrived, we played Cliffs on day one, Links and Cliffs in the morning and afternoon of day two and ending with a morning round on the Links on day three before returning to Vancouver.
With the experience we had, we can’t wait to visit again. Two weeks after our last round there and our team still can’t stop talking about it. Again, it was one of the most phenomenal and exhilarating golf experiences we’ve ever had – if you’re planning on taking a golf trip soon, you will have to consider Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs.