Cape Breton Highlands - hole 8
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Cape Breton Highlands - hole 8
The downhill and drivable par-4 eighth at Cape Breton Highland Links is dressed in prime fall color. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cape Breton Highlands - hole 16
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Cape Breton Highlands - hole 16
The uphill par-5 16th on Highlands Links offers a great late-round birdie chance ��_ if you score a level lie in the undulating fairway. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 10
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 10
The par-5 10th at Cabot Cliffs shoots along the sea. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 12
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 12
The 12th green at Cabot Cliffs shining in low-angled light. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 14
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 14
The par-3 14th hole features rock outcroppings in front of the green at Cabot Cliffs. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 15
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 15
The par-5 15th at Cabot Cliffs is an awesome challenge that begins the final run along the Atlantic. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 16
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 16
The par-3 16th hole at Cabot Cliffs is the most dramatic tee shot, possibly in the entire country. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Cliffs - hole 18
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Cabot Cliffs - hole 18
The closer at Cabot Cliffs is a straight par 5 that makes a final dash along the sea. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - hole 15
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Cabot Links - hole 15
Cabot Links helped spark a golf boom on Cape Breton Island. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
Cape Breton Highlands - hole 4
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Cape Breton Highlands - hole 4
The short and sweet par-4 fourth at Highlands Links is a dicey proposition with a raised green and deep pits. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor
The Lakes Golf Club - hole 6
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The Lakes Golf Club - hole 6
The author on the par-4 sixth at The Lakes Golf Club, an up-and-down mountainside course near Sydney, Nova Scotia. Andrew Penner/Golf Advisor

Cape Breton Island, home to Cabot Cliffs and Highlands Links, boasts spectacular golf in the fall

By many accounts it seems rather odd that little old Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada -- a rocky, wave-battered island of less than 4,000 square miles and home to just more than 130,000 people -- has become one of the world's great golf destinations.

But, thanks to the two stunning seaside courses at Cabot Links (Cabot Cliffs, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, opened this past summer to rave reviews), as well as the heralded Stanley Thompson relic at Highlands Links, the island is a force to be reckoned with.

Unquestionably, it was the original course at Cabot Links, a Rod Whitman design that swerves through dunes and an old fishing port, that got the ball rolling. Mike Keiser and Ben Cowan-Dewar, the brains behind the Cabot Links project, deserve the bulk of the credit. It's a special place, no question about it. And lovers of the old world game certainly have another place to hang their hat.

Cabot Links, as well as the other courses on the Maritime island, tend to photograph very well, especially in fall when the colors, similar to Appalachia, explode in every shade under the sun.

As both a golf course photographer and a golf professional, the courses of Cape Breton spoke in loud tones on my recent visit. Hopefully you can hear them in these images.

Video: Mike Keiser on the making of Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs

Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
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Cape Breton Island, home to Cabot Cliffs and Highlands Links, boasts spectacular golf in the fall
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