When Trevor and I were asked to come help build Cabot Cliffs in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the response was an easy "yes"! Working with the Coore & Crenshaw group on their epic-looking Canadian debut project would be a huge honour for us personally and for our company, and we were certainly excited to become a part of it all. Myself had just finished working for Tom Doak on his new Forest Dunes project in Michigan, and Trevor had just finished helping Gil Hanse with his Donald Trump project in Dubai. The timing was perfect, and an opportunity to now work with Coore & Crenshaw on Canadian soil seemed to good to pass up!
Nonetheless, we packed-up and moved shop 5,000 km east to Inverness, Nova Scotia; the town nearest to Cabot Cliffs and the home to the widely acclaimed Rod Whitman-designed gem, Cabot Links. The house we were set up in was situated along the ocean and overlooking the Links' long par 3 7th with the iconic Biarritz green. Golfing and BBQ's after work became a routine activity and a great way to unwind after a day up at the Cliffs. Campfires, fireworks, and lobster also became a routine activity - but that's another story!
The first day we arrived on-site it became immediately apparent what kind of golf course this had the potential to become -- "one for the ages". The cliff top setting, the views, the scale and extraordinary variety in the landscape, and the out-of-this-world sunsets were all 10 out of 10's. The place had it all. The landscape is basically a patchwork of sand dunes, wetlands, rivers, rock outcroppings, forests, and all knitted together by acres upon acres of cliff-top linksland. On top of all that, Mr. Bill Coore and Mr. Ben Crenshaw did an absolute masterful job at routing the golf course through the site taking full advantage of all the natural beauty and vistas. In short, Cabot Cliffs offers a phenomenal setting for golf and boasts golf holes and putting greens totally unique and unseen before in the golf world. People are undoubtedly going to be awestruck by the sheer beauty of this place.
On that same first day, it also became clear on how much work needed to happen for the course to be completely finished and seeded by fall. Luckily, Mr. Coore and his lead associate for the project and our fearless leader, Keith Rhebb, assembled an amazing team to carry out the time-constrained work. Keith Rhebb, Dave Axland, and Andrew Littlefield made up team America while Rod Whitman, Riley Johns, and Trevor Dormer made up team Canada. We even had a guest appearance by our very own Dan Philcox, the third member of Integrative Golf Co., who came out for a month to help during the summer push. This was the first time all three members of the Integrative Golf team have been working on the same project together since the Elmhurst restoration in Winnipeg. As always, good times were had!
Cabot Cliffs became a labour of love for many of us involved. We spent countless hours on-site in all kinds of weather ensuring what we were doing was nothing but the best and highest quality. There were countless evenings we would work until the sun sank behind the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and sometimes even continued into the dark with the lights on! The site deserved nothing less.
It was also an amazing experience to work alongside and learn from modern-masters of their craft - Bill Coore, Rod Whitman, and Dave Axland on such an amazing piece of property. I think the product and the pure fun golfers will have on this course is reflected in how much fun we had building it, and the team effort that was involved.
We will be returning in the early spring to finish Cabot Cliffs, build the practice facilities, and get things ready for a soft opening in mid-July. Please enjoy a hole-by-hole sneak peek of the new Cabot Cliffs golf course and all the best in 2015 from the Integrative Golf crew.
-- Staring from hole 1 through 18 --
For more on Cabot Cliffs and to see some of Keith's photography, follow the links below.