Cabot Cliffs – September 2017 – This summer while waitressing on PEI( as I continue to build my nonprofit, Fairways) I met Damian MacInnis from Celtic Keys (who are so much more than a property management company).
Damian is following his biggest passion, which is Cape Breton and has now dedicated his days to ensuring everyone else around the world knows what a wondrous place it is.
We got chatting about Fairways and Damian and the Celtic group of companies will be partnering with us and supporting our work in numerous ways.
Damian invited me to visit Cape Breton before I left Canada and arranged for me to have meetings at 5 golf courses while I was in town.
He also arranged for us to tee it up at the number 1 public golf course in Canada – Cabot Cliffs.
I admit to doing a happy dance when he sent through my itinerary. I was going to be teeing it up at Cabot!!!!!!
It was a windy cold day when we arrived with a little rain at times but it made me feel perfectly at home on the links as I am used to playing links golf in Ireland and Scotland and the late September weather felt similar.
I couldn’t stop smiling and as Damian headed into the yurts (the temporary pro shop) to check in I was coating my feet in bandaids to protect myself against the rub of my golf shoes.
We were playing as a twosome and I decided to play the silver tees with Damian although when I saw him pull out his driver (on the par 5’s) I opted to head to the orange tees.
There had been a lot of rain the day prior (a little fallout from hurricane season down south) and most of the bunkers were quite full of water and as we noted that walking down the par 5 1st hole we decided if we ended up in the water in the bunker we could take a free drop. In retrospect I should have said if we ended up in the bunker we take a drop after my debacle on the 4th hole.
As I got to the 2nd tee I realised I had lost my spider head cover off my 5w. The spider had taken me 5 hours to sew (I hate sewing) as I had made it out of a pair of socks and a woollen cap but as I had no idea where I lost it, we continued walking.
I started with a double, bogey, par and then on the par 3 4th hole I drove my ball into the massive bunker. As it was not in the side full of water I decided to play it out and 6 shots later I managed to get my heavy sand coated ball near the green.
There was casual water under my feet in the bunker and my ball ended up completely obscured with sand but still I persevered. By the time I got to the green Damian was waiting patiently as he had already holed out while I had my 6 bunker shots and I giggled when I wrote a 9 down for myself.
And that is not my worst par 3 either. I took an 11 on one in Ireland earlier this year.
The wind whipped around us as we talked all things golf and Damian gave me feedback on our meetings from the previous day.
As we stepped up to the par 3 9th tee there were 5 or 6 workers busy in the bunkers. We gave them a wave to give them the heads up. Damian had gone quite left as the wind had pushed his ball so I decided to be aggressive. Instead my ball shot off my club about knee height and headed straight for the bunkers.
I was horrified as it hit one of the greens staff and yet I couldn’t stop laughing. I was apologising profusely as I headed to the group and everyone was very quiet as the gentleman I hit was holding his ankle and hopping around. I couldn’t help it but I burst out laughing again all the while apologising. The rest of the boys laughed along with me and laughed harder when I said to the older gentleman next time he should move quicker.
Terrible of me but I am a little cheeky.
Cabot Cliffs is stunning from every hole and in every direction you look. I still couldn’t quite believe I was playing links golf in Canada.
As we replenished our water supply at the 10th the starter asked if I lost a head cover. I smiled as he handed me my spider and tucked it around my club.
We were playing quite well on the back nine. I was playing well for me and Damian could do no wrong. He threw darts and while he missed 5 birdie putts he was 2 over for the back with 7 pars and 2 bogeys. While the wind was around 60kms with strong gusts it didn’t seem to cause us many issues.
My spider once again came unstuck on the back 9 and I figured that perhaps it is meant to stay in Cape Breton. I doubt I will sew another one and yet I didn’t return to find it.
I was having too much fun out there with Damian.
I have heard it said and seen it written that Cabot Cliffs is up there with the best four finishing holes in golf and I was not disappointed. After a very nice par on the 15th I snuck a little peak at the 16th but at Damian’s request didn’t look again.
I didn’t realise he was filming my reaction as I headed to the tee on the 16th. Wow!!!!!! I was speechless (for the most part – and quite a feat for me). The hole is stunning.
I watched Damian hit the perfect shot. I thought he may even hole it as it was clean off the club and was perfectly on line. I did tee off from the orange here and hit the dance floor quite a way from the flag to the left. I was happy with my bogey as the green here (and pin position that day) was tricky to play.
While Damian finished with 4 pars, I finished with a par and three bogeys and was delighted with my round. Particularly in the strong wind.
Damian couldn’t believe his two over back nine and to think of the 5 birdie putts he missed. What a round! My putter was very good and I only just missed lots of long putts. In fact Damian gave me a wonderful compliment and said that my putting had helped him putt better. I am not sure how but boy could I read a line that day.
I was chuffed with my even 100 for the day as I had 3 lost balls and the wind to contend with.
I cannot wait to return to Cape Breton again next summer but this time I will be teeing it up at all the courses I visit.
If Cape Breton golf is not on your bucket list, it should be.