Golf Magazine unveiled it list of newcomers to its world Top 100 golf course list yesterday. Along with Donald Trump’s course in Scotland and a Coore/Crenshaw design in China, Cabot Links, located in Inverness, NS, cracked the list at 82.
The course, designed by Rod Whitman, is a splendid and occasionally brilliant links built on a former mine site on the west coast of Cape Breton. I wrote in 2011 that Cabot was likely the best in the country — the Golf Magazine ranking would seem to support that.
Think of this as the Academy Awards for golf courses. The panel at Golf Mag is well-travelled and knows its golf. The world list doesn’t change that much or that often — and cracking it is a rare achievement. I kind of suspected Cabot would make the jump, though I know others who argued the course is more akin to a Tier Two links (think Nairn or Enniscrone) and doesn’t warrant a spot.
Cabot’s debut is pretty impressive — and the highest for a Canadian course ever. Interestingly in recent years there have only been three courses on the list — Hamilton (for a brief time before falling off), St. George’s (which sat 90th on the list in 2011) and Highlands Links (which resided at 98th).
Apparently it is now one of two courses on the Top 100 list. Highlands Links, which ranked in the 60s on the list at one point, has fallen off, the victim of inability on behalf of the federal government to figure out what to do with the course. GM Graham Hudson has done the best he can given his limitations, but the Federal Government, and specifically Parks Canada, have not given the course the resources it needs to succeed. Conditioning has been suspect over recent years– and that’s probably what knocked Highlands off the list. Imagine the Top 100 list as the Michelin Star rating for golf courses. Highlands has lost its star — and it is unlikely to get it back.
One thing worth noting about Cabot Links is that two of its principals — Ben Cowan-Dewar and Ran Morrissett — are members of the Top 100 panel. An interview with Ben is here.