Cabot Links - No. 18 and clubhouse
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Cabot Links - No. 18 and clubhouse
The 18th hole at Cabot Links plays right beside the bar and Panorama restaurant. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
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Cabot Links: No. 7
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Cabot Links: No. 7
The 7th hole at Cabot Links is a short par 3. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links, No. 3
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Cabot Links, No. 3
The 3rd hole at Cabot Links is a short par 4 with plenty of trouble lurking. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links
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Cabot Links
The par-4 15th hole plays along the beach from tee-to-green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 14
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Cabot Links - No. 14
The par-3 14th hole at Cabot Links is short but deceptive. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 15 tee
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Cabot Links - No. 15 tee
The 15th hole starts a stretch of two back-to-back par 4s along the beach. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - bar
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Cabot Links - bar
A bar lights up the green at Cabot Links at night time. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 6
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Cabot Links - No. 6
The 6th hole at Cabot Links is a cape hole that hugs the harbor. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 18
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Cabot Links - No. 18
The 18th hole at Cabot Links is a moderate-length par 4. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 5
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Cabot Links - No. 5
The par-3 5th hole at Cabot Links. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 16
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Cabot Links - No. 16
A devilish fairway bunker lurks on the par-4 16th hole at Cabot Links. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 5
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Cabot Links - No. 5
The par-4 5th hole plays gently uphill towards Inverness. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 2
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Cabot Links - No. 2
The long view from the par-5 2nd hole's elevated green at Cabot Links. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 12
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Cabot Links - No. 12
The 12th hole is a par 4 with a wide fairway and elevated tee. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 15
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Cabot Links - No. 15
The approach shot on the beach-side 15th hole. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 3
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Cabot Links - No. 3
The third hole at Cabot Links plays downhill from near the town of Inverness. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Cabot Links - No. 8
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Cabot Links - No. 8
The 8th hole at Cabot Links is an uphill par 5. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor

In photos: The original Cabot Links on Cape Breton Island, Canada's first true links

INVERNESS, Nova Scotia -- Somehow, it feels like the original Cabot Links course has been around for years longer than it actually has (2012). But such is the case, perhaps, when the shiny new neighbor, Cabot Cliffs , debuts just up the road. The Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed Cliffs is certainly stealing the majority of the headlines on Cape Breton these days, but Cabot Links, Canada's first true links golf course, designed by the country's own Rod Whitman and spearheaded by Canadian Ben Cowan-Dewar in partnership with Mike Keiser, continues to hold its own. The par-70 course features waterfront holes on each side, including a dazzling stretch from Nos. 14-16 that overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence which connects to the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of Cape Breton. On the front nine, the 5th and 6th holes play along a calm harbor and marina (the par-4 6th is a wonderful, but difficult dogleg left around the water), while the 8th hole plays along the walking trail and shoreline before heading uphill to a massive green shared with the par-4 13th hole. The tee shot on the 13th, by the way, is blind, and golfers aim for a stone at the top of the hill.

Cabot Links also has the added benefit of most of the guest rooms and public areas being within walking distance of the first tee, so it's always a really festive atmosphere. Putting contests on the 18th hole tend to happen well after the sun goes down thanks to a spotlight shining from the nearby Panorama Restaurant and bar area.

Cabot Links, named after the legendary Cabot Trail scenic drive in Cape Breton, is a true links golf course that was built in part on a former mining site. It's walking only but most golfers tend to hire a caddie. The design has been rerouted since opening day, and a new par 3 has been built along the southern edge of the property after acquiring more land. But the totality of the golf course is maturing and flourishing. The fescue turf that is used on the tees, fairways and greens has taken hold and has managed the busy summer tee sheets of the short golf season on Cape Breton Island.


Staff reviews of Cabot Links: Brandon Tucker


Video feature: Brandon Tucker visits Cabot Links, Cliffs and Highlands Links

Getting to Cabot

Much like Cabot's links golf brother Bandon Dunes on the other side of North America, getting here isn't that easy but to some of those golf groups coming for the first time, it's part of the fun.

Most international travelers will likely fly into Halifax and make the drive, about three hours, to Inverness. You can shave a little time off if you fly into Sydney, but that's only a good option if you're connecting from one of Canada's larger hubs like Toronto or Montreal. Those who want to fly private can arrange transportation into Port Hawkesbury Airport, which is less than an hour away.

Cabot Links has developed into a full-fledged golf resort and continues to offer more and more accommodation options, including more guest rooms, villas, and most recently they've even begun selling a small amount of real estate. Cottages are also being built on the south side of the 7th hole and will overlook the shoreline. The Public House also recently opened and has become the most popular place for drinks and pub grub, and also has live music on many nights.

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.
Related Links
Cabot Cliffs, the follow-up to Cabot Links on Cape Breton Island, is one of Canada's most spectacular courses. Tour the Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw designed course here.
From Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, Canada's scenery is spectacular. And, thankfully, if you're into golf, that jaw-dropping scenery is on display on many of the Great White North's most notable courses.
In honor of the Presidents Cup, the Golf Advisor staff has selected the 12 best international golf destinations.

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In photos: The original Cabot Links on Cape Breton Island, Canada's first true links
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