A trip to Nova Scotia cannot be made without making the pilgrimage 2 hours further Northeast to Cape Breton. What you find once arriving there is what one would expect to see at the end of the Earth. A certain proof that the world is flat. Cape Breton is on a peninsula that extends out into the Atlantic and rises a hundred feet above. It’s consists of a raw beauty rarely seen in this day and age.
Nighttime at Cape Breton allows amazing views of the coast and later the stars, a feeling that you can nearly touch them.
It was this amazing place that was graced by the magic of Stanley Thompson. Here he routed an excellent course through a very difficult forested mountain area. It’s one of his strongest routings and gifts to the golf world. Being in the hands of the public park you needn’t expect an Augusta like presentation and maintenance, as they simply don’t have those kinds of budgets to work with. They do a wonderful job with what they have.
The course is a wonderful attestation to the routing brilliance of Thompson. Designed in a time when large machinery didn’t bulldoze everything flat the routing in all its glory with its multitude of natural humps and bumps takes you out over the big hill and back down towards the sea level on the back side. The 3rdhole is one of the most picturesque holes you may ever behold playing over a lake to a green framed by bunkers and trees. However, it’s the 4thhole that truly impresses. It’s a short 4 that plays to a fairly wide fairway leaving an approach to a volcano type green with terrific shaping, bunkers and significant undulations – one of the first of its kind and a unique concept. A crazy green complex and perfect to protect this short 4. The approach shot must be incredibly accurate. The reward, a tricky putt no matter where you end up if it’s not in the hole.
Highlands Links was once coined the greatest walk in golf. Not to take away from the place, in the authors point of view while this may of once been the case for some city slicker that had never seen a creek and a forest, I’d have to qualify that statement as pure marketing spiel in this day and age. At the same time I don’t want to take away from it as Highlands Links is an excellent course located at the end of the earth on a great property.
The finishing hole takes you back to the clubhouse and plays back through one last crazy moguled fairway to another highly undulated two tiered green.
If you are heading to Cabot then do yourself a favor and extend your stay long enough to make the trip to Highlands Links, you won’t regret it.
Date: September 07, 2018