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Dan Herrmann

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2018, 07:03:02 AM »
Please, please, please take time to drive the Cabot Trail.   


While you do that, stop off at Le Portage in Cheticamp.   Very cool little Acadian town.  They offer whale watching tours.


Then drive over to Highlands Links along the Cabot Trail.   From there, enjoy a stay at Keltic Lodge or drive back to Halifax/Sydney.


Take your time.  There is a LOT more than just golf on Cape Breton Island!

Kalen Braley

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2018, 12:47:08 PM »
Dan,


Its funny, and I'm not poking fun here, but I never see this advice when going to Bandon...its always "Drive to the resort, don't leave the resort".... despite the fact that Oregon has one of the most beautiful coast line drives in the world with all kinds of stuff to do/experience.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2018, 12:50:12 PM »
Kalen


The Cabot Trail is fantastic, but what makes it a must for me is that it's the road to Highlands Links. I have long wanted to do a Cape Breton golf piece headed 'Two of the world's best courses separated by one of the world's best roads'.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Kalen Braley

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2018, 12:52:37 PM »
Adam,


And perhaps that's the missing link....I wonder if the Cabot Trail drive would still be recommended if something akin to Astoria Country Club were waiting for you on the other end!

Frank M

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2018, 01:41:23 PM »
Dan,


Its funny, and I'm not poking fun here, but I never see this advice when going to Bandon...its always "Drive to the resort, don't leave the resort".... despite the fact that Oregon has one of the most beautiful coast line drives in the world with all kinds of stuff to do/experience.


Kalen, I think you underestimate or overlooked the Cabot Trailís Loop structure. Driving the Oregon coastline doesnít bring you back to where you started.


If one really wanted, they could drive the entirety of the Cabot Trail from Cabot Links before mid-afternoon and still get a round in at Cabot in the late aft or split up the drive with a round at Highlands and be back at Cabot in the evening. Of course that would mean there wouldnít be any stopping, which is difficult to do when thereís so many unique things to see.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 01:45:51 PM by Frank_M »

William_G

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2018, 08:49:56 PM »
Dan,


Its funny, and I'm not poking fun here, but I never see this advice when going to Bandon...its always "Drive to the resort, don't leave the resort".... despite the fact that Oregon has one of the most beautiful coast line drives in the world with all kinds of stuff to do/experience.
that is funny isn't it
it's probably influenced by the dreaded East Coast "difficult" travel
yet the drive along the Oregon Coast is a slower 2 lane highway the whole way, and can be too slow for many folks
decent golf @ Astoria, Gearhart, Salishan, Sandpines with the drive
vs. golf @ Waverley with the drive
vs. golf @ Eugene with the drive
yet Bandon is Mecca, no doubt

if I go back to Cabot it will not include any drive around Cape Breton, having already seen it, unless I'm sightseeing with my better half  :)
It's all about the golf!

JWinick

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2018, 07:46:29 AM »
Thank you all for excellent advice.    The comparison to Bandon was interesting - as I really enjoyed the drive from Portland going along my favorite river (since we love lists here, the Umpqua River is #1!) but also marveling at the economic depravity of the towns on the way.   


I'm not sure what we are going to do.    The plan is to couple this with a few days in the Boston area.   If we are unsuccessful getting on the good courses there then we will probably extend our Canada trip.   

William_G

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2018, 08:49:13 AM »
JW,

Cliffs 3 plays Links 2

Yes that drive along the Umpqua is fantastic, and yes the timber industry was not sustainable and left much of rural Oregon in a $$ bind, and thus the significance of the success of Bandon year round.

Coincidentally, like Bandon, Cabot has great sunsets, being on the on the west coast of Cape Breton, as well as a similar economic resurgence thanks to Mike Keiser.

old video yet still revealing, below

http://www.golfchannel.com/video/mike-keiser-bandon-dunes-and-cabot-links/

cheers
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 08:43:04 PM by William_G »
It's all about the golf!

Mike Baillie

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2018, 10:37:52 AM »
The neat thing about this thread and brilliance of Cabot Links is that:

- virtually everyone is right from their perspective
- the misconceptions that still exist regarding Cape Breton, travel time and airport connections

If you have limited time and/or just want to play lots of golf just get to Inverness and play the two courses.  In 2016, we played 6 rounds on two courses leaving Toronto on morning of day 1 and returning early evening of day 4.  Those that have an interest in GCA or interesting scenery/food/culture should extend a day.  If an extension not possible it ends up being 5 rounds on 3 courses in the same time frame versus 6.  On the quick, 12-14 hours needed to get to Highland Links one way, play a round, return the other (completing the whole Cabot Trail) and have a stop or two during the day. Did that too prior to the opening of the Cliffs.  Kalen says it best, "Two of the world's best courses separated by one of the world's best roads".  The key is that if you intend to be in Cape Breton  only once make sure you include Highland Links.

In terms of the misconceptions, see Ben Cowan Dewar's June 2004 Feature Interview - question 9.  While the Sydney airport is closer it suffers from both fewer reasonably direct connections and generally speaking poor arrival / departure times even best case from Toronto.  That makes the lodging better in Inverness versus an overnight at Keltic.  Mike K knows as he wouldn't buy it combined with the course a few years back!

William_G

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2018, 08:44:39 PM »
well said Mike  :)
It's all about the golf!

Guy Nicholson

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2018, 02:10:24 PM »
The drive to Highlands Links, and the golf, are absolutely worth an extra day. Nothing against the Lakes or Le Portage, but I would not cram them into a trip of this length. I'd leave as much time as possible for the Cabot Trail -- Cheticamp, hiking, camera stops, Ingonish Beach, even the Englishtown ferry. I've done that drive a dozen times now and still use every minute available to me for it.


That said, if you find yourself set on two days of just Cabot, the shuttle can be an option, especially if it saves you a car rental or a jet-lagged drive in the dark. Inverness is very accessible on foot.





JWinick

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2018, 04:22:10 PM »
Everyone, you are all amazing.  I know we sometimes disagree on this board about certain things, but I really do appreciate your advice and it has been heeded.   Here is my itinerary:


June 28 (Boston) - Essex County / Boston Golf Club
June 29 (Boston) - Myopia Hunt Club
June 30 - Highland Links
July 1 & 2 - 36 each day at Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs


The nice thing is you can fly direct from Boston, so combining Boston with this trip made sense.   

Daryl David

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2018, 04:58:05 PM »

The nice thing is you can fly direct from Boston, so combining Boston with this trip made sense.


By "direct" do you mean Boston to Halifax nonstop or Boston to Sydney with a stop in Halifax?

Erik Mosley

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2018, 09:58:06 AM »
Just came back from Cabot late last week, so thought I'd give an update for those planning to head up there this summer.


CABOT
Course:
- Was very impressed with the conditions of both courses.  Greens were faster than I expected.  Can't imagine they can get much faster as they resulted in a wobbly ball or two when the wind was really up.  Caddies said that the course should be running very hard and fast in 3 weeks (currently early in the season, so we weren't getting quite as much roll as you'd expect on a links course).
- I don't think I've ever had more fun on a course in 30 degree weather!  Cliffs is spectacular, although I thought the Links was more fun.  I'd still pick more rounds on the Cliffs though, just because it's so unique.
Off-Course:
- Downstreet Coffee Company was sold last week and is now closed.  Not sure when they will re-open, but it definitely looked like it will take some time.  I believe it was bought by Route 19 Brewing, which is scheduled for opening across the street from Cabot later this summer.  It's still a ways off if judging by construction, but will be a real nice addition for golfers.  For off-site breakfast, everyone seemed to be frequenting Robin's Donuts across the street.  As an aside, the sale apparently affected the famous cookies on the first tee, as they now have to "outsource" them and only had them sparingly. 
- No putting cups in the rooms or in the pro shop - bummer!
- After having visited Bandon, I found that Cabot is not the well-oiled machine that Bandon is.  Understandable due to the short golf season, temporary workers, and it being early in the season, but I spent more time trying to get things done at the front desk than I ever have at any other resort.  15 mins to make a dinner reservation at Panorama, 20 mins to check-in, 15 mins to get our key after we already checked-in, etc.  Never once did they pick up the phone.  Obviously there for the golf, but good to have expectations in line and to give yourself extra time if you're trying to rush to a tee-time.  All these things are minor though since the golf is so good. 


HIGHLAND LINKS
Course:
- An absolute must-play.  The stretch from 2-9 is perhaps the most unique stretch of golf holes that I have ever played - I was floored with the design, the strategy, and sheer beauty on every one of those tee boxes (not to mention we saw a moose and bald eagle in that stretch as well).  The back 9 had some unbelievable holes as well, but were more interspersed.
- Would highly suggest trying to play 2 rounds out there.  Knowing a bit about the blind shots is one thing.  The other is that the mounding in the fairways is relentless and a shock to the system...zero flat lies.  Was completely frustrated after the first round that I didn't get to hit some of the shots I wanted, simply because I was so focused on not sculling/chunking/shanking the ball.  Second round was so much more enjoyable to play due to being prepared for what lies ahead.   
- Conditioning was...playable.  Course had only been open for a week, so there was a lot of winter kill on the greens.  I have no idea how they keep that course maintained with the hills/remoteness of some of the holes, so I can't foresee it ever being in great shape (after finishing, you really appreciate how the heck they made the course even playable).  I think it will be in decent shape later in the summer. 
Off-course:
- Had a great stay and play rate there that included two rounds of golf per person.  We were able to play early in the morning, drive the long-way around the Cabot Trail, stop for some lobster in Cheticamp, and be on the first tee of Cabot Cliffs by 4:00 pm (can't think of a better 36-hole day!).  There should be enough sunlight for that through August or so.  Seems like teetimes start later at Cabot, so it may not be doable the other way around.


OTHERS:
- Arrived in Halifax at 1:15 pm.  That's too late to play at the above courses, so booked a (surprisingly reasonable) stay and play rate at Fox Harb'r.  The back 9 has some excellent holes (and views!) and there are a few decent holes on the front as well.  You'll scratch your head on a half-dozen or so architectural decisions (especially on the waterfront holes), but still an enjoyable setting and am guessing it's as good of a course as you're going to get in Nova Scotia outside of Cape Breton.  Definitely not worth the rack rate though, so look into the packages.


We were definitely focused on the golf (9 rounds in 5 days), but would suggest that everyone drives the Cabot Trail at least once - note that the "can't miss" part is really between Cheticamp and Ingonish, so only go the Google Maps quick way between the two courses if you REALLY need to shave off that extra 20 minutes or so. 


Hope this helps - happy to answer any questions.


Mark Saltzman

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2018, 02:47:56 PM »
Erik, would you say that Fox Harbír is worth the 90 minute detour from Halifax en route to Cabot? Iím flying into Halifax and have time for one extra round and that was where I was thinking of playing.

Brad Tufts

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2018, 03:04:59 PM »

During my Cabot/Highland trip in 2015 we played all over Cape Breton...the only course I found really noteworthy other than Cabot/Highland was The Lakes...was a pretty cool mountain course adjacent to a ski hill with great views...certain holes reminded me of Colorado/Montana golf!


Bell Bay and Fox Harb'r were full of nice people and scenic at times (especially FH), but not great golf courses.


We also did the PEI swing too with Crowbush/Dundarave and Green Gables, and I really liked GG.  Again, great people and pretty country, but the # of great courses is not that high.


The Links at Brunello is brand new and just outside Halifax, accepting public play before going private...I didn't play it but it looks intriguing.
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Erik Mosley

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2018, 04:45:39 PM »
Erik, would you say that Fox Harbír is worth the 90 minute detour from Halifax en route to Cabot? Iím flying into Halifax and have time for one extra round and that was where I was thinking of playing.


The back nine at Fox Harb'r is memorable (I think the non-"oceanfront" holes are actually more interesting than the ones on the water) and the facilities/conditioning are excellent.  We're happy we went.  If you can get a good rate, I'd do it as you probably won't leave disappointed.  However, you also won't leave with a sense of GCA enlightenment (it's ultimately a resort course), and it's probably not worth it if it keeps you from a round at Cabot or Highland.

JWinick

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2018, 03:29:04 PM »

Direct flight to Halifax....   There aren't that many cities in the US that have direct flights there.   Chicago doesn't for example.


The nice thing is you can fly direct from Boston, so combining Boston with this trip made sense.


By "direct" do you mean Boston to Halifax nonstop or Boston to Sydney with a stop in Halifax?

Daryl David

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2018, 05:01:52 PM »
True, Halifax is not easy from the US.  My preferred route is to go through Toronto then on to Sydney.  Toronto is accessible from dozens of US cities and the drive from Sydney airport to either Highland Links or Cabot is under 2 hours.

Kalen Braley

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Re: Cabot Links Advice
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2018, 05:57:03 PM »
Just read the Google reviews on Highlands.  A bunch of posters claiming to be locals, say new management has let the place go a bit.


Could just be haters, but they moaned about everything from conditioning, to lack of service, to steep pricing....

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