Golfing in Nova Scotia in eastern Canada offers players of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to play in a variety of gorgeous locations that each provide a unique and authentic playing experience.
Over just a few rounds in Nova Scotia, golf lovers can play along the Atlantic Ocean, discover truly extraordinary links-style courses hidden alongside lush forests and tee it up in some of the most beautiful countryside parklands you’ll ever see.
There are several distinct regions of Nova Scotia that offer their own style of golf. Whether you choose to play a round along the Bay of Fundy, on Cape Breton Island, on the South Shore or in the city of Halifax, the province can deliver an unusual day at the course.
Here are the courses you shouldn’t miss.
Starting with Cape Breton Island, Highland Links is nestled on one of the most awe-inspiring destinations in all of Canada and prime real estate for a five-star golfing paradise. Relying on Scottish tradition to build the course, architect Stanley Thompson said that “nature must always be the architect’s model,” and it’s easy to see that mantra in effect at Highland Links.
At over 6500 yards, Highland Links unfurls itself as a beautiful home for the rich tradition of links-style golf. Placed against Ingonish Beach, Highland Links provides golfers with views of limitless water and rocky mountains.
The course is timeless, both in structure and in gameplay. You would be wise to learn the layout of Highland Links before you hit the first tee as a strategic mindset is an important virtue to have when playing this historic course.
If you’re looking for a more exclusive and luxurious play to break out the clubs, then the Fox Harb’r Resort is a must-visit location. Located in northern Nova Scotia, Fox Harb’r allows you to experience two different styles of courses in just 18 holes.
The front nine at Fox Harb’r plays more like a parkland-style course. You can expect more of an intimate forest-driven layout on the opening nine holes. There’s a bit of adventure on the front nine as you weave through fairways that are sheltered by forests and large bunkers, so you’ll need a straight drive and accurate shots to get through unscathed.
As you begin the back nine at Fox Harb’r, the course opens up and embraces a links-style layout that brings out postcard-worthy views. Against the Northumberland Strait, you’ll hit your drives alongside rock-laden shores that provide a dazzling example of what a traveling golfer has to look forward to in Nova Scotia.
If you’re more inclined to stay close to the metropolitan area of Halifax, then the Glen Arbour is a nearby course that can undoubtedly scratch that golfing itch. Located just 13 ½ miles (22 km) from Halifax, Glen Arbour is home to several annual golfing championship tournaments such as the BMO Canadian Women’s Open and the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.
This public course is incredibly inviting to play with broad fairways and deep greens. The course curves through an extensive collection of hardwood trees and are shaped around several bodies of water. This provides the avid golfer with a great challenge while putting their skills to the test.
Cabot Links & Cabot Cliffs
The crown jewel of Nova Scotia golf is playing at the Cabot, home to two of Canada’s best courses: Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs. Both places are routinely featured as two of the top 100 golf courses in the world by golf magazines. If you have a chance to play this prestigious duo, you’ll understand why they’re so special.
At Cabot Links, golfers have a view of the Atlantic Ocean on every hole while playing on Canada’s most authentic links-style course. One of the premier golfing destinations in North America, Cabot Links allows the golfer to be transported to the early days of links-style golf in Scotland without leaving Nova Scotia.
When you set foot on the first tee at Cabot Links, the most noticeable feature is the ocean that reaches as far as your eyes can see. Next, you’ll take in the jaw-dropping architecture of the rugged landscape and marvel at how elegant the course is laid out over the natural surroundings.
Playing Cabot Links is pure joy.. As you hit tee shots along the water, you’ll be challenged by the complexity of Cabot Links. Depending on weather conditions, the course can be soft and accommodating due to rain, or if it’s dry, the wind off the ocean can present a challenge that will put your backswing to the test.
It would be a sin to miss out on scheduling a round on Cabot Cliffs, Cabot Links’ companion course. Golf writers have called playing on the Cliffs “an out-of-body experience,” due to the exciting and unique nature of the course. You’ll find different styles of play and encounter a variety of natural terrain in just 18 holes.
Just as amazing as the Links course, Cabot Cliffs slowly brings the golfer higher in elevation for breathtaking vantage points and more challenging gameplay.
The designers of the course, legendary golfer Ben Crenshaw and his partner, Bill Coore, created a symmetrical layout that adds an extra level of uniqueness to the course. There are six par-3s, six par-4s, and six par-5s on the course, which makes playing the Cliffs that much more enjoyable.
As you work your way through the Cliffs, you’ll notice that the course isn’t unfair as the fairways are wide and inviting and the greens don’t play too fast. That said, it’s a challenge for golfers of all skill levels. After you finish on the 18th green, regardless of your final score, you’ll find yourself ready to play the Cliffs once again.
Some best hotels in Nova Scotia, Canada
4 star-hotel – From 75 USD/ night
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Halifax – Bedford is just 15 minutes from Historic Downtown Halifax, providing easy access to many of the area’s attractions and points of interest including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Casino Nova Scotia. This Halifax hotel is also close to Mount Saint Vincent University and Dalhousie University. Downtown Halifax offers something for everyone, including art galleries, museums, historic churches, specialty shops, sidewalk cafés and lively nightclubs. Sporting events and live theatre are popular with tourists and locals alike. A variety of restaurants and cocktail lounges can be found in the surrounding area. Guests of this Holiday Inn Express & Suites are provided many amenities including free deluxe continental breakfast, free parking, free weekday newspaper, free high-speed Internet access and free local calls.
4-star hotel – From 65 USD/person
Built in May 2014, Hampton Inn by Hilton Halifax Downtown is located in Halifax. It boasts an indoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi access throughout. Scotiabank Centre is within 240 metres. Decorated with locally inspired artwork, each room features a flat-screen cable TV, coffee machine and ironing facilities. Free toiletries and a hairdryer stock the private bathroom. Some rooms have a view of Halifax harbour. At Hampton Inn by Hilton Halifax Downtown you will find a fitness centre. The hotel is 400 metres from the World Trade & Convention Centre, while Casino Nova Scotia Halifax is within a 7 minutes’ walk. It is 3 km from Dalhousie University and 32 km Halifax International Airport.
4 star hotel – From 80 USD/ person
Located just 1 km from the Dartmouth Ferry Terminal, this DoubleTree by Hilton Halifax Dartmouth hotel offers free WiFi and a full service restaurant. Each room here includes flat-screen TV, desk and coffee maker. Select rooms feature a balcony. Guests will find a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries in the bathroom. Each morning, guests can enjoy breakfast at Café 101, which is located in the main lobby. The cafe’s menu boasts a wide range of items. Room service is also available. This hotel features a heated indoor pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. On-site parking is available with surcharge. DoubleTree By Hilton Halifax Dartmouth is 2 minutes’ drive from MacDonald Bridge. Brightwood Golf & Country Club is 800 metres away.