April 29, 2012
New course is a rare breed
By IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI
A “preposterous story” is about to become reality in Inverness, N.S., where the finishing touches are being put on Cabot Links, a seaside links course that is so rare in North America and is this country’s first major golf course opening in years.
“The secret is to try to find some time for perspective,” said Cabot Links managing partner Ben Cowan-Dewar.
“The whole thing, as Mike said last year, it’s sort of a preposterous story and it is, coming from Toronto and hearing about a site in Inverness and obviously, ending up with Mike as my partner and creating a product that we’re both really excited about,” he added.
“I think it is a bit of preposterous story, but it’s certainly an exciting one,” he added.
Mike is Mike Keiser, the man behind the acclaimed Bandon Dunes golf playground on the Oregon coastline and a big reason for the buzz around Cabot Links as its official opening date of June 29 approaches.
“I think, first and foremost, the attention’s due to Mike being involved and obviously, the success he has had at Bandon. I think Mike coming to Canada is the primary reason,” said Cowan-Dewar.
“There’s long been a fascination, both with passionate golfers and the golf media with links golf, so I think that’s probably the second reason,” he added. “Obviously, we’ve benefitted from opening in a time when course openings are rarer than they used to be,, but my feeling is it’s probably the mile of ocean frontage, the links golf and the excitement for the actual product that has drawn the attention.”
Buzz and optimism don’t necessarily guarantee success, especially in turbulent economic times, but Cowan-Dewar says bookings have been solid as Cabot Links follows the blueprint established by Bandon Dunes.
“It’s exactly the same,” he said. “All the ingredients are there, from a remote setting on the ocean, focusing on golf first, the golf taking the best land along the coastline and obviously, being public, being walking-only and now with the building of our 48-room lodge.”
The new lodge is just one aspect of the preparations going on in Inverness, which will benefit from the approximately 125 jobs that will become available with the opening of Cabot Links.
For one thing, Whitman has come in to work on a new 12th hole, located near the old one that will remain in play until the new 12th is ready.
“The new hole is built just to the left of there, also a par three, but the green is nestled right against the beach and I think (Whitman) has done a brilliant job with that,” said Cowan-Dewar, adding that Inverness has enjoyed a beautiful spring to enhance the conditions.
There’s also talk about a second course going in, but that remains to be seen.
“Looking ahead to a second course, should we ultimately be successful with Cabot and we feel we will be, that would be a course that Bill Coore and Ben Crensaw would design and we have loosely called Cabot Cliffs,” said Cowan-Dewar.
For now, however, there are more pressing priorities in pulling off the preposterous.
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THAT SHOT WAS GOLDEN
At Ping, it’s customary to gold-plate a replica putter used by its staff players in a win and, if Bubba Watson’s incredible shot out of the trees in the playoff at the Masters hadn’t worked the way it did, the focus would be on Louis Oosthuizen’s albatross earlier in the final round. Like Watson, Oosthuizen is also a Ping player and the company has decided to also commemorate his shot with a golden S56 4-iron that will find a place of honour in the famous Ping putter vault at company headquarters ... It looks as if the Ontario regional qualifier for the RBC Canadian Open will change dates. It was originally scheduled for June 18 at King’s Forest near Hamilton, but that conflicted with the first day of the PGA of Canada Championship, being played at Country Hills near Calgary. With many players wanting to play both events, an announcement is expected sometime this week ... Mike Weir makes his seventh PGA Tour start of the season at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, the previous six ending in missed cuts. Stephen Ames and David Hearn are the other Canadians in the field ... Rod Spittle and Jim Rutledge will be at the Champions Tour’s Insperity Championship in Houston.