It is safe to say no new course in Canada has captured the imagination – or the attention of reporters — in the way Nova Scotia’s Cabot Links has. Golf Digest, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail – all covered the opening of Cabot Links, the course created on Cape Breton Island by Mike Keiser, the owner of the fabled Bandon Dunes golf resort in Oregon, and Toronto entrepreneur Ben Cowan-Dewar.
The press coverage wouldn’t have mattered much had the resulting course not turned out to be a remarkable success. Fun and challenging, smart, but quirky and occasionally eccentric, and endlessly fascinating, Cabot Links is one of those rare occasions when the frenzied accolades surrounding a course weren’t simply hyperbole. As a links, akin to the great golf found on the coast of Scotland and Ireland, Cabot Links holds its own.
And apparently it won’t be alone for long.
When I first visited the site where Cabot Links was to be built in 2005 with Cowan-Dewar, long before he partnered with Keiser, the then twenty-something developer drove me up to a second location. We stopped briefly by a white house, and Cowan-Dewar said he was interested in potentially developing a second course on the nearby bluffs overlooking the ocean. It seemed too fantastic at the time; after all, Cowan-Dewar didn’t have the resources to build one course, let alone two.