What do you get when you hire the famed design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to build a course on one of the most dramatic meetings of land and sea imaginable? Ben Cowan-Dewar, co-founder and CEO of the Canadian-based Cabot Collection, has his answer in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia.
Scheduled to open in December, Point Hardy Golf Club at Cabot Saint Lucia is perched above the Atlantic Ocean on cliffs that offer a simply ridiculous set of visuals on more than half the club’s 18 holes. Picture any of the most scenic holes anywhere – Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, Pebble Beach Golf Links or Cypress Point in California, even the original Cabot courses in Nova Scotia as famous examples – and Point Hardy matches them all for you-gotta-be-joking views, proximity to the ocean and pulse-raising golf shots over cauldrons of salt spray.
All the holes at Point Hardy, including the inland holes atop a ridge or playing through a valley, are within sight of the ocean, and eight of them offer a chance to rinse a golf ball in salt water. On a day when the trade winds kick it up a notch, golfers will feel ocean spray at several points along the routing.
The hard part wasn’t building a dramatic course on the steep ground at the northern tip of the volcanic island. On a recent walk around the course as construction of Point Hardy nears completion, Coore said the toughest part was building golf holes on which the fun factor at least approaches the level of the visuals.
“Playability, playability, playability,” said Coore, who has routed some of the best courses to be constructed in the world over the past 30 years. “It would have been very easy to build a course where the views are incredible but that just wasn’t any fun to play, because the terrain is so steep. The challenge was to make it fun, to make people want to play it again.”
Did the team succeed on that front? Time will tell, and Golfweek will have plenty more on Cabot Saint Lucia on the front in the coming months. In the meantime, just take in the incredible photos below of the two strings of golf holes closest to the ocean at Point Hardy.
Keep in mind with the following photos that the course is still in grow-in and that several holes haven’t been grassed yet, so brown areas on greens and fairways seen in these photos are completely expected as the grass takes root. The bunkers have not yet been filled with sand and appear as natural scrapes in the photos. This is still very much a work in progress.
And to answer a few questions we know are coming:
Point Hardy will allow some versions of public-access play early on as its membership role is filled, with details still being determined. Eventually the course will be at least mostly private.
Yes, it will be expensive compared to most U.S. daily-fee prices. Green fees and stay-and-play options have yet to be set, but don’t expect it to be cheap on a site like this. A vehicular analogy: This course is a Lamborghini full of bravado and pulse-racing moments, not a four-cylinder Kia that simply gets the job done, and the pricing will be along those lines.
Will it be among the best courses in the world? There’s no way to know where it will sit on Golfweek’s Best rankings of top courses in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the Atlantic Islands until our raters visit and offer their scores. But don’t be surprised to see Point Hardy very near the top of that list.
Cabot Saint Lucia includes a housing development, ranging from fairway villas all the way up to mansions priced at millions of dollars. Besides the golf, there will be a beach club in a gorgeous bay and a full slate of luxury amenities. There are no plans for a traditional hotel or lodge-style accommodations.
Point Hardy Golf Club will play to 6,616 yards with a par of 71.