16th hole / Par-3 / 176 Yards (Black Tees)
Inverness, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
Architects: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2016)
Riveting. Spellbinding. Alluring.
Words alone are inadequate to fully encapsulate the majestic presence of the 16th hole at Cabot Cliffs. The second 18-hole layout followed the highly successful Cabot Links which opened in 2011.
The Cliffs layout is aptly named. Several holes perched above the coastline fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the intersection of land and water makes for a mesmerizing connection.
The final trio of holes of the Cliffs Course comprises a par-3, par-4 and par-5 conclusion in a sterling manner. The 16th features a teeing area literally situated on the edge of a cliff. The green’s location is placed on a isthmus of land jutting out and ably bracketed by cliffs to the front and rear areas
“The 16th tee is one of the most visually dramatic tee shots in golf. Standing atop eighty-foot cliffs, golfers breathe in the fresh saltwater air and enjoy the stunning view before a tee shot will need to clear the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the two-tiered green,” said Ted Stonehouse, Director of Golf. “The safe play is to the left as the ball will release to the right and there is room behind the green from that angle. Keep in mind if you are attacking the flag on the right-side lower tier, the green is only thirteen feet deep.”
Being able to choose the proper club is an absolute essentiality as wind velocities constantly change in terms of direction and intensity. Players must execute with a jeweler’s touch in order to secure the putting surface. Even after doing so the two-tiered green requires careful thought. Those leaving with a par will forever remember the encounter with relish. Those failing will eagerly await a return engagement.
The highly talented architectural tandem of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have designed a number of stellar courses in their career and the 16th at Cabot Cliffs is clearly in the conversation as one of their finest efforts. Actor Clint Eastwood’s famous character Dirty Harry Callahan is noted for one of his enduring quotes which is quite apt when playing the 16th — “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
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Images courtesy of Jacob Sjöman