Highlands Links - Nova Scotia - Canada

Highlands Links,
Ingonish Beach,
Nova Scotia,
B0C 1L0,
Canada


  • +1 800 441 1118

George Knudson called Cape Breton Highlands "The Cypress Point of Canada for sheer beauty" and Highlands Links golf course is located on the very tip of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. The course was laid out in 1939 under the watchful guard of Mount Franey. Stanley Thompson designed it and is lovingly known as his “mountains and ocean course.”

The rugged Highlands Links is set in one of Canada’s most gorgeous spots and this is where golf and Mother Nature join together in sweet harmony and the club is quite rightly proud of its Audubon certification.

The Highlands Links layout pitches and rolls across wonderful terrain and the out-and-back routing is very traditional and a perfect accompaniment for a classical course. Thompson named each hole in true Scottish tradition and we must smile at his sense of humour. He gave immortality to Mucklemouth Meg by naming the par five 6th after the lass who could allegedly swallow a whole turkey egg in one uncomfortable gulp.

If you are looking for a thrilling and traditional course, which fits the land like a silk glove, look no further and there’s no doubt in our mind that Mr S. Thompson practiced what he preached here at Highlands Links.

“Nature must always be the architect’s model.”

Following severe weather conditions in September 2010 (when Hurricanes Earl and Igor made landfall within three weeks of one another), Ian Andrew was called in to help repair the damage caused by flash flooding in the Clyburn Valley. This then turned into a 2-year project to reconstruct most of the original bunkers on the course, along with a considerable amount of tree clearing.

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Reviews for Highlands Links

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Description: Highlands Links golf course is set in one of Canada’s most gorgeous spots and this is where golf and Mother Nature join together in sweet harmony... Rating: 7.6 out of 10 Reviews: 17
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Hans Berntson

I played this course twice in early September during and after heavy rain. The bad weather of course took away some of the enjoyment but it was still a great experience. I don't know how often it happens but when this course is dried up and fires on all cylinders it must be something else. And the management (of the course) and the hotel are great too.

October 26, 2016
8 / 10
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Steve MacQuarrie
Did you ever finish reading a book or listening to a piece of music that everyone else loved and wonder why? That’s how I felt after playing Highlands Links. Yes, the scenery was lovely and yes, the green complexes were top notch. (Who knew Stanley Thompson was building pot bunkers 30 years before Pete Dye?) Thompson apparently was a stickler for what he wanted for his greens and local lore has it that the construction crew had to tear up the first 2 versions of the 17th green before Thompson signed off. But from tee to green, Thompson’s work is indifferent. There’s just not much exciting happening there. There are few fairway bunkers and most are not in play, so little thought is required on the tee…..and the same can be said for the second shot on the par 5s.Thompson’s original contract with the National Parks called for only nine holes, but using the “better to ask for forgiveness than permission” theory, he went ahead and laid out 9 more. This allowed him to build 2 of my favorites: #s 9 and 13. But it also made for a torturous routing and the 11 kilometer walk the course is famous for. Conditions were decent when I played in August 2015. Two green nhad suffered from the tough winter but the others were true, running 9.5 on my stimpmeter. The fairways were not in great shape, but I attribute that to the 3 days of rain that preceded me.Having traveled 800 miles, I wanted to like the course more, but, alas it was not to be.
August 12, 2015
6 / 10
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Dave Finn
Opened in 1941, Highlands Links definitely stands up to the test of time. Designed by the legendary Canadian Architect Stanley Thompson, this course stretches about two and a half miles through hilly, forested land and is consistently ranked among the top 100 Courses in the world by several leading golf publications. It is a true honor and privilege to play such an historic gem but don’t expect any level lies here. There are a few flat spots on the fairway but I swear by the swells on the second green that there’s two humpback whales buried there. I also discovered what may be the softest and deepest sand bunkers I’ve ever played so I’ll be sure to practice up before my return.
April 30, 2014
10 / 10
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Fergal O'Leary
Designated a national park in 1936, Cape Breton Highlands covers 950 square kilometers and is one of the largest protected wilderness areas in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is part of a system of national parks protecting significant landscapes throughout Canada. The park is known for its spectacular highlands and ocean scenery. Steep cliffs and deep river canyons carve into a forested plateau bordering the Atlantic Ocean. One third of the Cabot Trail, a world-famous scenic highway, runs through the national park along the coasts and over the highlands. Inside the park is Highlands Links Golf Course routed along Ingonish Beach and is the creation of Stanley Thompson. Having being the mastermind behind splendid golf courses in other Canadian national parks, namely Banff and Jasper, Stanley Thompson was engaged to build 18 holes throughout the densely forested and rugged terrain of Cape Breton. Click the link to read Fergal’s full report on Highlands Links.
July 16, 2013
8 / 10
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Greg McMullin
Update: Feb.2012 -- there has been much improvement and restorative work done and being done to the course over the past 24 months plus. Playing corridors have been opened up, green conditions are the best they have been in many many years and the ocean and mountain views have been restored throughout the course. Anyone interested in seeing some pictures of the course improvements should visit the courses website at highlandslinksgolf.com
February 07, 2012
10 / 10
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Ernest Dunphy
I played Highland Links in mid September 2010 and the course was in wonderful shape. The course was not manicured like the high end courses around Toronto but it is much better than what is indicated in other reviews. I have read in other reviews that the some greens were brown but we found all the greens to be very green, but the greens were somewhat slow due to recent rain. I think that some of the work cutting back the trees around the greens has helped the conditions. The layout of the course and the greens is good and is as nice as I have ever played. The scenery is also first rate. It is not easy to get to Ingonish but I think it was worth the drive especially if you can get in two rounds.
September 20, 2010
10 / 10
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John
With a little TLC, Highlands Links could be a permanent feature in the World Top 100 for sure. The condition at this government run course is at times scruffy, especially bunkers but this is more than made up for by the amazing value for money and $ for $ this is probably the best value course in the whole of North America. The layout is stunning and one of the most varied and intriguing I’ve played, with great changes in elevation and fairways that roll up and down magnificently. With no two holes the same, this is gripping stuff and quite rightly ranked so highly but, as I said earlier, it could be even better.
August 14, 2006
8 / 10
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Grant
May 28, 2008
It was ranked Number One in Canada in 2007, and it is in as good, or better, condition right now compared to last year!
Andrew
February 05, 2013
I have played Highlands Links on 2 occasions and while the layout is fantastic (I am a huge Stanley Thompson fan), the conditioning and general ambience was not worth of #1 status. The experience the 2nd time round was probably better - better weather and conditions due to playing in the summer vs. fall. It's a great layout, some great views, some great shot values, but St. Georges is the best course in Canada I have played and should be higher ranked than HL in my opinion.