Architect(s): Stanley Thompson,Graham Cooke,Ian Andrew,Mike Weir,C. E. Robbie Robinson
Season: May 19th to Oct 21st
In golf-rich Cape Breton Island, remote Cape Breton Highlands Links in Ingonish Beach stands out as a historic, bucket-list-worthy place to play. Located near the highest point of a peninsula in the northeast part on the island, this 1941-vintage masterpiece by Stanley Thompson, Canada's greatest golf course architect, thrills players with its breathtaking vistas, extraordinary variety of golf holes, and its enchanting natural setting and tranquility. Thompson built Cape Breton Highlands Links for Parks Canada within Cape Breton Highlands National Park as a Depression Era make work project. In 2011 Graham Cooke and Ian Andrew brought back its luster with a restoration and modernization project. Cape Breton Highlands Links still has it old-school look and raw natural character. The par-72 layout can be played at 5,243 yards, 6,061 yards, and 6,592 yards from its three tee decks. It is as challenging a test as anyone would want. In traditional links-style, the routing heads out for nine holes and then comes back in for nine holes. Carved out of a forest, Cape Breton Highlands Links features tight, heaving fairways that typically play firm and fast and almost never yield a level lie. Penal bunkers protect Thompson s signature multi-tiered, undulating greens. The bold putting surfaces are firm and devilish to read don t expect any straight putts. All of the holes at Cape Breton Highlands Links have wonderful Gaelic names and pose unique and formidable challenges. Many are renowned for their architectural magnificence. Among the most notable is Killiecrankie --known to locals as Killer --a long, double-dogleg par 5 that plays through a narrow pass in the woods and culminates at the most undulating green on the course. Cape Breton Highlands Links is a memorable golf experience. The entire round offers breathtaking scenery, starting with six holes that wrap around the bay, followed by a stretch that tucks into hills and valleys, before the game finishes with four holes by the water. Though it was built to be played by walkers, the terrain is rugged and most players take a cart. Play ends for the season each year around October 20th. Practice facilities at Cape Breton Highlands Links include a wedge area and a large putting green. There is no driving range. The modest clubhouse features a pro shop and a small bar & grill. Better food is available at the adjacent Keltic Lodge that you can walk to from the parking lot. If you enjoy playing historic, world-class, architectural masterpieces, you owe it to yourself to make a tee time and get to Cape Breton Highlands Links.