For golfers, there’s nothing better than a pilgrimage to a legendary destination, a getaway to a sacred spot where the golf is sublime. In Canada, Cape Breton Island, NS is that spot. Its four courses are dotted across a stunningly rugged landscape of mountains and ocean. You can almost hear the bagpipes on the breeze. (After all, Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland.) Recognizing the island’s idyllic advantages, golf connoisseurs and investors have recently launched a Cape Breton boom, doubling the island’s golfing population with the creation of four new courses.
The Louisbourg Resort Golf & Spa, is a 1,000-ha (2,500-ac), resort-real estate extravaganza centred around two courses designed by six-time Major winner Nick Faldo. The Fortress course will stretch around the edges of Grand Lake, hopscotching across the local marshland. The second layout is a shorter, par 3 executive 18. The Fortress is slated to open in 2010. www.louisbourgresort.com
The Lakes is the new layout designed by veteran Canadian golf course architect Graham Cooke. Zigzagging across a series of plateaus that rise up above Bras d’Or Lakes, the course is next to the Ben Eoin ski hill, 15 minutes outside of Sidney. The Lakes is expected to open in spring 2009. www.thelakesgolfclub.ca
Cabot Links will skirt the sand dunes and salt water outside the village of Inverness on the western edge of the island. Designed by Alberta architect Rod Whitman, the course will be built on a former coal mine. Cabot Links opened in spring 2008. www.cabotlinks.com
Of course, new is nice. But don’t overlook Cape Breton’s headliners: Highlands Links, voted one of the best courses in the entire golfing kingdom, and Bell Bay, perched above the red-and-white lighthouse in the village of Baddeck, just around the corner from Alexander Graham Bell’s summer mansion. www.highlandslinksgolf.com www.bellbaygolfclub.com