On Monday night, I was scheduled to fly into Sydney, N.S., and move on to Keltic Lodge, a resort that I’ve occupied before, a true Atlantic charmer that I was looking forward to visiting again.
On Tuesday morning, we’ve got 18 holes at Highlands Links on the agenda. I haven’t seen Highlands Links for quite a few years, so I’m looking forward to having another go-round to see how recent renovations and upgrades have gone after storms took their toll on the highly-regarded Stanley Thompson design.
Then, it’s off to Cabot Links, reportedly destined to become not only an Atlantic jewel, but also one that will be a beacon for all Canadian golf courses.
We are supposed to play 10 holes in Tuesday, then on Wednesday, from what I understand, our group will become the first people ever to complete a full 18 holes at Cabot Links, quite an honour if it lives up to its billing.
I have no reason to believe it won’t. From the photos I’ve seen and the reputation that preceded this visit, this true links design promises to be a treat for anybody who visits.
The question is how many will visit when it opens for its first full season next year? Does outstanding golf in an area a fair distance from densely-populated areas necessarily translate into success from a business perspective in this day and age?
There are several factors at work here, including the weak participation numbers in both Canada and the United States these days. The other factor, and it’s a big one, is the scary economic news on both sides of the border and, of course, in Europe.
Travel writers who I know in the U.S., for example, are telling me that many of their outlets are concentrating on stories devoted to day trips and automobile adventures with the concentration being domestic travel, as opposed to overseas or out of the country.
I’m certain that a certain number of diehard golfers are looking forward to giving Cabot Links a whirl. I’ve talked to many of them directly involved with the Canadian golf industry and those who are just hardcore golfers.
Will that be enough to sustain Cabot Links, sure to be named Canada’s best new course, if you care about such titles, as much because of its lack of competition these days as its own enviable attributes?
This is a conversation of hope to have with Ben Cowan-Dewar of Cabot Links and others, but the short-term plan right now is to just enjoy a golf product that I already know from previous experience will be memorable.
We’ll also add a couple of stories into the travel section.