Highlands Links on the Mend: Designer Will Repair Damage, Restore Features

The 6th hole at Highlands Links earlier after unusual rains hit the Cape Breton area in December.

After getting hammered by a winter storm that significantly damaged several fairways, there’s been a lot of concern about Canada’s golfing gem, Highlands Links.

Those issues have been compounded by the lack of communication coming from Parks Canada,  a federal government agency that runs Highlands. I’m not sure if they want the course to struggle — does that make any sense? — but the feds haven’t said anything about repairing the damage, at least not officially. Chip Bird, the federal bureaucrat who is responsible for the course, told me in an email things will go forward to repair the course  — but there hasn’t been an official word. Very odd.

Anyway, Ian Andrew has a deal in place and will start working on the course according to a blog post:

The work at Highlands Links was approved and I now have a contract which requires me to make a series of trips to help with the repair work and also to begin some restoration work on the bunkers that were affected by the damage. I’ll be in Nova Scotia on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer. I’m very excited about this work!

So this is good news for those that are worried the course might not open, or would be in terrible shape. Turns out things should be done by June and Andrew will be able to restore a lot of the features lost by the renovation work conducted in the 1990s by Graham Cooke and his associate Steve “The Joker” Miller.

Now if the government could figure a wide to disseminate that message widely, perhaps rounds won’t continue to drop at Canada’s most significant course.

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Jeff Lancaster

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1 CommentLeave a comment

  • Robert,
    Great news that Parks Canada is moving forward with the repair and improvements and – great news that Ian Andrew will be directing and managing the program. Can’t wait to get down to Highlands for a few rounds this summer and check out Cabot Links.

    Note: I’ve talked to some people in the Ingonish community and was pleasantly surprised to learn that additional tree cutting to improve turf conditions and playability has been ongoing. It seems that the effort has been following the plan that Ian had put together and was first started in the Fall of 2008. It sounds like things are really opening up. Once I get some pictures I’ll pass them along.

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