Courses and Travel
A golf trip five years in the making
Brent Long shares his three-minute photo tour of Highlands Links - one of Canada’s most magnificent golf courses.
Published on Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 10:52AM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2012 12:12PM EDT
I have a new No. 1 golf buddy. I have actually been waiting for five years for my son Jacob to be old enough to play the game that didn’t capture my imagination until I was in my late 20s. He got his first set of junior golf clubs when he was two and has been banging the ball around the backyard and a few other places over the last four years.
In early July we went for his first golf lesson at the Within Range Golf Centre in Burlington with my friend and PGA of Canada member Doug Lawrie. Then, a couple of days later, with his new “hotdog in a bun” grip firmly in hand; we hopped on an airplane with mom for Sydney, NS and an eight-night golfing/family adventure around Cape Breton.
Jacob may tell you the highlight of our journey may have been the waterslide at the brand new Hampton Inn and Suites we stayed at in Sydney or our close-up encounter with a 70-foot fin whale while whale watching near Ingonish. He played eight holes at Cabot Links with me as his caddie before walking over a couple of dunes to Inverness Beach with his mom and we also had a great time picking wild blueberries down the sides of the fairways at Le Portage GC. He even toured Glenora Inn and Distillery with us, but balked at the idea of his first shot of single malt whisky, so I had two!
I hadn’t played Highlands Links since 2004. It was great to be back to enjoy all of the changes that architect Ian Andrew has instituted over the last couple of years when it comes to cutting down trees and opening up views, restoring and renovating bunkers and adding a few tee decks. The course, with the exception of the sixth fairway which was barely playable due to saltwater flooding, was in awesome shape. We spent two nights at the charming Keltic Lodge and played two rounds at Highlands Links, one as a family and the other just the boys.
My favourite moment in time of this amazing holiday was our late afternoon round at wonderful Highlands Links that I captured through the lens of my camera as Jacob and I teed off with nobody in sight – not even a moose!
I’m not sure what goes through a five-year-olds’ mind when you tee it up at one of Stanley Thompson’s masterpieces. Maybe he thinks all courses are like this one! We had a great time playing from the forward tees, driving the golf cart here and there, skipping and running down the fairways chasing our ball, drinking a Gatorade, playing in the sand bunkers and I mean playing and looking for the extra camera lens that I lost on No. 13 fairway and didn’t notice until the 15th tee – as I frantically traced our steps he actually spotted the lens before I did and there was a high-five for that one! I missed a hole-in-one on No. 12 by less than three feet and that would have been a truly amazing story to tell.
Finally, when we were back on No. 15 again, mom called our cell phone and after Jacob told her the tale about the camera lens, we agreed that she would pick us up in a couple of minutes for dinner in the Purple Thistle Dining Room at the Keltic Lodge – now he even likes fresh lobster in warm butter!
I shot 70 at Highlands Links – that wasn’t my final score – but it’s the number of photos that make up this three-minute tour of one of Canada’s most magnificent golf courses. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed playing it and that you will have a chance to play Highlands Links with someone special very soon!