I do believe that I’m the guy who Robert Thompson is referring to in this blog, the writer who proclaimed during a recent conversation at the Halifax airport that all course ratings are ridiculous, which is definitely the case.
Golf course rankings are nothing more than manufactured controversy through a process that is impossible to achieve its stated objectives fairly. Usually, the only reason that people remember even the top 10 on any given ranking is that the top of the heap is usually very predictable in most cases.
As for being dismissive about the hype surrounding Cabot Links, I never denied that there hasn’t been a buzz about the grand new links showcase in Inverness, N.S. that certainly lives up to any buzz that it has generated.
However, that hype may be due to the fact that there is no competition in Canada as far as golf course openings lately. Cabot Links is sure to score a few “best new course” plaudits when the media decides it’s time to play kingmaker.
The writers who take part in the endless supply of golf course rankings that are produced by a multitude of publications tend to get a little defensive about their little ranking fiefdoms, but by no means are comments about rankings meant to be detrimental to Cabot Links.
I believe in letting a golf course stand on its own merits, instead of putting them in some bogus pecking order that only generates conversation in the media instead of among their readers.
Cabot Links, a Rod Whitman design. is truly spectacular and seems destined to become a beacon for Canadian golf courses.
As I mentioned in this blog last week, and RT shrugs off this point in his blog despite its importance, great golf does not necessarily guarantee success as a business entity. A few years ago, Tobiano in Kamloops, B.C.. opened to great fanfare and wound up in receivership.
While the golf product at Cabot Links is outstanding, there are a couple of realistic factors to consider as it prepares for its official opening next year and none of them are a surprise to the golf industry.
- Declining or flat participation rates in the Canada and the United States.
- The American economy. Unless you’ve been lost in the fescue the past few years, you know the problems here. People concerned with their jobs tend to put a low priority on travel.
- Add to that the fact that Americans, if they are traveling, are staying within their own borders or taking driving getaways.
- The Canadian economy. Perhaps one of the best in the world as we speak, but there is legitimate concern with all of the economic uncertainty in the United States and Europe.
On the other hand, Cabot Links has some positives going for it.
- Not only is it an outstanding product, but it offers a unique links experience for North Americans.
- Mike Keiser, with his interests in Cabot Links, has a proven track record with Bandon Dunes in Oregon.
- Ben Cowan-Dewar, the managing partner, is dynamic, young and committed to the Cabot Links project.
- Peak green fees are expected to be an affordable $100 or so and with multiple tees and a “play it forward” attitude, Cabot Links will appeal to all levels of golfers.
- Other outstanding courses such as Highlands Links and Bell Bay enhance Cape Breton’s image as a golf destination, although there is plenty of driving to be done in be between golf courses.
So, there are positives and negatives facing Cabot Links going forward and that brings us to our GNN Poll for this week. How do you think Cabot Links will do in its first few years?
How do you think Cabot Links will fare from a business perspective in its first few years after it opens officially in 2012?
- It will be a great success. (39%)
- It will struggle through some tough years, but do fine. (29%)
- With the challenges facing golf, now is not the time to open anything. (23%)
- It might be successful initially, but the novelty will wear off. (10%)
As always, if you wish to expand on your thoughts, please add your opinion in the Comments section below this blog.