Have you ever experienced that feeling?
The one after a magical few days somewhere new; somewhere amazing.
The “Oh no, do I really have to leave?” feeling fueled by little moments and unforgettable memories — a friendly smile from a kind local, an early morning view of the warming sun peeking above the distant horizon, or the rush of burying a lengthy putt over humps and swales, as the ocean waves crash against the sandy shores below.
Though it can sometimes be hard to put into words, there are some places in this world that you never want to leave.
Cabot is one of those places.
Home to two World Top 100 golf courses — the newly opened Cliffs course and the elder Links course — Cabot will mesmerize you in every way a golf course can. As the newcomer, Cabot Cliffs (ranked #19 on Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Courses) has stolen the show of late with a great layout and a ridiculous closing stretch (read more – Cabot Cliffs: An Unimaginable Golf Experience).
Let’s not forget who started this party, though! Cabot Links (ranked #93 on Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Courses) is as good as they come and delivers a strong links layout that has you forgetting you’re still in North America.
While I’m not suggesting it’s on the same level as the several-hundred-year-old historic counterparts across the pond (give it time), it’s one solid links layout.
Here are 5 reasons Cabot Links will have you yearning to stay.
1) The Seaside Layout (read: endless views)
If your favorite aspect of links golf is its seaside presence, you’re in for a treat. The Cabot Links layout winds up and down the coast, with over a third of the holes dancing on the edge of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The property elevation increases as you move away from the Gulf, which lends itself to spectacular views of the sea on nearly every hole. It also lends itself to expansive views of the golf course at several points.
One of my favorites is the 14th tee, which sits near the middle of the property and offers scenic views in all directions — the golf course to your left and right, with the Gulf staring back at you straight ahead.
2) Course Strategy is Key: You’ll think, but not too hard
Strategically placed bunkers, middle-of-the-fairway fescue topped mounds, and lots of dense gorse are ready to capture ill-planned shots at every turn. The good news is that the majority of fairways are generous; however, expect wayward balls to be penalized.
Although architect Rod Whitman didn’t produce an overly long layout (measuring 6,854 from the back tees), the shorter holes are complemented by some menacing holes throughout.
Leading the way are the 247-yard par 3 2nd, 650-yard uphill par 5 11th, and numerous long and challenging par 4s (6 measure over 440 yards). Plenty of decisions are required to avoid bunkers, and land approaches on proper tiers, but you won’t feel too exhausted after the round.
As in all good links courses, the weather can have a dramatic impact on course strategy, with gusty winds dictating decision making. And as you notice the many bunkers with stairs for entry, you’ll quickly realize it’s important to choose your club wisely!
3) The Intriguing Double Green
Though not a requirement on links courses, the epic double green at many of the greats (i.e. Old Course at St. Andrews) add to the intrigue of the venue.
Cabot Links features a massive putting surface that doubles as the greens for the 8th and 13th holes. I (regrettably) didn’t pace off the width, but the depth measures 47 yards from front to back! Needless to say that a wayward approach on either hole may result in a putt well over 100 feet.
4) Good, Bad & Ugly Bounces
Love it or hate it, links golf often delivers those unsuspected and sometimes infuriating bounces. Bumps, humps, moguls, swales, slopes, knolls, tiers … Cabot Links fairways and greens have it all.
Firm and fast conditions add to the uncertainty and lend to a bit of creative play. Learn to take the bad breaks in stride and celebrate the good ones.
Examples? After a lovely wedge from 80 yards on the par 4 10th, I watched in disbelief as my shot landed on a small knoll and bounced over the green. The very next hole, I pulled my 9 iron approach 25 feet, which caught a large slope, torpedoing my ball to 5 feet from the hole. Of course I gave a nice club twirl and strolled toward the green as if I’d played that strategy … such is links golf!
5) The Quaint Seaside Town
Who doesn’t love a quaint town along the sea? Cabot Links in sandwiched between the Gulf on one side and the small town of Inverness on the other. As you play your way through Cabot Links, you’ll have great views of the colorful houses perched on the hillside just beyond the property’s edge.
While you’re not on the course, enjoy a coffee at the Downstreet Coffee Company, experience North America’s first single malt whiskey at Glenora Distillery, or simply take a stroll on the beachside boardwalk.
After a few days here, I suspect you’ll share that same feeling — Do we have to leave?
Look at the bright side, a return trip is in your future. And like the single malt whiskey at the local distillery down the road, Cabot Links (and Cliffs) will only get better with age.
See you soon, Cabot.
Read more about Cabot with our feature post on the Cliffs Course –> Cabot Cliffs: An Unimaginable Golf Experience