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Is Cabot Cliffs the modern Cypress Point?

Remarkable: The 9th at Cabot Cliffs, which has set itself apart as the best course in Canada, and among the best ever built anywhere in the world.

Remarkable: The 9th at Cabot Cliffs, which has set itself apart as the best course in Canada, and among the best ever built anywhere in the world.

The question posed by Ron Whitten in Golf Digest is whether Cabot Cliffs the modern version of Cypress Point. His answer seems to be an emphatic “yes.”

The sense of awe and discovery was so intense. And the best was to come, for the back nine has even more topography and four finishing holes along the jagged coastline that rival the best the Monterey Peninsula can muster. By round’s end, I’d lost all objectivity. This is the second coming of Cypress Point, which in my mind was previously unmatched in its beauty, variety and thrills.

I wrote about Cabot Cliffs in Global Golf Post a week or so ago. 

Now, a handful of years after Cabot Links opened, and now with its sister course, Cabot Cliffs, generating headlines only a few months after its unveiling, it is clear these two have set a new standard against which every Canadian course, public or private, will be judged. It is, in the words of one pundit, an “instant classic.”

When the drool-worthy photos of Cabot Cliffs’ 16th hole started sneaking out almost two years ago, many wondered aloud if the remainder of the course would measure up to such a lofty standard. The comparisons to the 16th at California’s Cypress Point—arguably the best par three in the world—were immediate. Tee shot over a rocky ledge? Check. Green perched out in the ocean? Yep. Likely to be photographed by everyone who plays it? Without question.

The holes away from the water are equally as strong as those on the ocean at Cabot Cliffs.

The holes away from the water are equally as strong as those on the ocean at Cabot Cliffs.

Where does this leave Cabot Cliffs, Cabot Links and Cape Breton golf? As I mentioned in the column, I think Cliffs is the best course in the country by a fairly significant margin. Yes, Links is very good (despite conditioning hiccups for much of the year), and there are exceptional holes throughout. But Cliffs is special. The Cypress Point comparison would appear as hyperbole, except that is the level of course we’re discussing. I’ve played Cypress—and I can see the comparison.

For those that say Cliffs is just a great site, they are correct. But the holes within it—especially those away from the water (3, 11, 13)—are also stunningly interesting.

There’s a good argument to be made that Cape Breton has the Top 3 public courses in the county all in one spot, especially if you consider a resurgent Highlands Links as part of that mix (which I do.)

With Ted Stonehouse coming on to run Cabot’s golf operations, accolades coming regularly, more lodging in the offing and a the resort’s practice facility opening next year, the resort is only getting better.

It has the raised the bar for Canadian golf sky high, and made Cape Breton a must destination for anyone interested in the sport.

 

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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