Count Matt Kuchar as a rarity among Tour pros: he packs his sticks on family trips and — here’s a novel concept — plays golf for fun. On a recent getaway with his wife, Sybi, and their two kids, Kuchar found himself in Nova Scotia, where he teed it up at Cabot Links, a seaside layout that ranks 82nd on Golf Magazine’s list of Top 100 Courses in the World.
Moving at a breezy pace, Kuchar shot 64 (ok, he took a breakfast ball) and got around so quickly he had time left for sight-seeing. One of the sights he saw was Cabot Cliffs, Cabot Links’ sibling-in-the-making, a Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design that sits just up the road from its sister course.
Cut through coastal dunes and along arresting bluffs, Cliffs has been described as “Pebble Beach on steroids.” It got Kuchar’s blood going, alright.
“I never thought I’d see something that makes Cypress Point look small,” he said.
He was referring, in particular, to the 16th hole at Cliffs, a scene-stealer of a par-three that calls for a long carry over an ocean inlet to a green that appears poised to slough into the sea.
It’s one of 10 holes on the course set hard along the water, and it’s part of a closing quartet that builds toward a crescendo, like a cymbal crash in a symphony.
From the tee on the 15th, a par-five that swoops down toward the bluffs, Cliffs provides a coastal panoramic, with Margaree Island, the Ailsa Craig of Canada, photo-bombing in the backdrop. Then comes the cliff-hanger 16th, followed by drive-able par-four, framed on the right by the vertiginous coastline, and a par-five finale, also bordered by the sea.
Pair its location with the pedigree of its designers, and you’ve got the most eagerly anticipated course of 2015.
Even Bill Coore, a man so laidback you have to pull him forward to get him sitting upright, has served up a few excited sound bytes. “I had the same feeling as I did at Sand Hills,” he said, alluding to the heralded Nebraska layout that he and Crenshaw built. “If we don’t deliver a great course on a site like this, then it’s our fault.”
For Coore, that amounts to Trump-ian hyberpole.
Kuchar’s Cypress quote makes good copy in its own right. So does the photo spread below, which gives you a glimpse of what Kuchar saw. Cabot Cliffs opens for play in July. Family optional. Clubs required.