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Ian Andrew

Highland Links Progress
« on: October 26, 2008, 10:57:26 AM »
I know Highland Links is a course very dear to many people on this web site and I thought I would update everyone on the recent progress at Highland Links. The course has had a really tough fall brought on by continuous rain and it has left the course in pretty tough shape.

The problem that has been brought upon by over a month of continuous lousy weather, poor drainage on many holes and is only made worse by the dense tree cover around the course (particularly the greens). There has been almost no tree removal since the course opened due mainly to restrictions for tree removal in the National Park. Iím happy to say that era has come to an end. The Park has recognized the problem and has given us permission to take out what is necessary for up to 50 feet from the current tree line. They are also willing to allow more but we will need to sit down with them.

In the four days that I spent at Highlands this fall I got a chance to talk one on one with all the key players at the National Park and I can honestly say they recognize what needs to be done to get better playing conditions and also restore the course. They are on board. So rather than wait for a Master Plan to get done and then start, I got everyone involved to agree to immediate tree removal this fall. We staked out areas to be removed and I gave them a written report that described all tree removal throughout the course Ė so they could get as far as they could this fall.

They need this tree removal now to deal with turf recovery. They also needed to recognize the glaring sunlight issues that plague the greens almost all year. We are three weeks in right now and Iíve provided photos to show where we are taking trees down for sunlight or airflow. The great news is the National Park has come through with another three to four weeks of manpower from their own budget to take more trees down now after I sent a note requesting that they keep going.

The initial goal is better growing environments. Each removal also happens to take us back to the original corridor and opens up the views to the mountains or terrain around the holes. Once all green and tee sites are done, the future removal program will be to restore the original views of the course. This work almost completely fits within our working corridor.

Once we have established healthy green sites, we can begin programs like green recapturing and then slowly work our way towards a restoration. Iíll update you later on this winter with all the surprises that I had through research and the time spent on site. As a teaser - two greens are off by 30 feet Ė the great part is I know when and why it happened.

Here is a pictorial summary of most of the work:

The 7th

There is tree removal on the left and back of the green and that is the 8th tee that is starting to show up through the gap. The right side will also be cleared the same way too.



The 9th

There are no trees left behind the green anymore and you can see the mountain from the landing  - like before. The trees on the left side had to come out and the right hillside is still to be cleared.



The left side of the green.



The 11th

There tree removal up the right is all done, and will help with future recapturing of the original green. The waterfall is much easier to see now too.



The 13th

The removal is all on the right side was done to help with sunlight issues, but needs to go further up at the green.



The 14th

The removals up the left were for sunlight. You barely see that gap from the landing area.



The 17th

This is the biggest problem green on the course. The Spruce back left are original whereas all the deciduous all the way around are not. There needs to be a major removal on the right to open up this area since the air is always dead and the green has almost no light beyond mid-day. This is where I recommended they concentrate their efforts. The spectacular back right pin has been lost until this green can be recovered.



So thatís the short tour of the work and there still remains three to four more weeks of progress till they shut down. The goal for this year is good turf.



Bob Jenkins

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 11:57:35 AM »

Ian,

Thank you. It looks like a great assignment for you!

How far is Highland Links from Cabot Links?

Bob J

Brad Swanson

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008, 12:02:03 PM »
Thanks for the update, Ian.  I'm looking forward to seeing the completed work.

Brad

Dan Herrmann

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 01:06:57 PM »
Ian - Thank you!

I absolutely loved my Cape Breton trip in '02, and can't wait to get back!

Ian Andrew

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 01:31:08 PM »

Ian,

How far is Highland Links from Cabot Links?

Bob J

Bob,

2 hours

They're busy with construction as we speak.

Ian

Chris Parker

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 06:29:00 PM »
Ian,

Great to see the work being done.  What a difference from only 6 weeks ago!
"Undulation is the soul of golf." - H.N. Wethered

Joe Hancock

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 06:47:40 PM »
Ian,

Good job up there.

I have to say, though, that your words distracted me from the real issues when you mentioned "...glaring sunlight issues...". I know you worded it that way just to see who's paying attention....

 :)
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Bill_McBride

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 07:07:21 PM »
Great news!  I'm predicting a great season for both courses once Cabot Links is open.  Is September the best month up there?

Ryan Chin

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 09:00:43 PM »
Thanks for the update! Still on my list of places to go.

Ian - does the scope of the project include bunker renovation (or un-renovation after what some have noted)?

Ian Andrew

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2008, 11:06:09 PM »
does the scope of the project include bunker renovation?

Eventually.

We'll get many of the main problems solved with what's available - but in time there will need to be some government funding allocated to help get larger capital projects like the bunkers done.

Don Hyslop

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 05:48:32 AM »
 Great news that the work has begun. Any tree removal scheduled this year on the 2nd hole?
Thompson golf holes were created to look as if they had always been there and were always meant to be there.

Ian Andrew

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2008, 08:24:39 AM »
Any tree removal scheduled this year on the 2nd hole?

No - around greens only this year

Steve Hyden

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2008, 03:07:44 PM »
In 1974, as a young budding architecture nut, I drove up from NYC just to play Highland Links.  A helluva trip - I think it would have been easier to get to Scotland - but definitely worth it.  I remember playing the course with an equally young Joe Robinson.  I would love to get back there - it's surely a bit of heaven.

Jeff_Mingay

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2008, 05:14:47 PM »
Steve,

Just to play golf with Joe Robinson again is a good enough reason to return to Highlands Links! Trust me.
jeffmingay.com

Tim MacEachern

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2008, 09:12:03 PM »
Is there really a waterfall on the 11th?  Where?  We always play that from the par 5 tee, no matter what colour tees we're playing on the rest of the course.  Of course, 6 and 7 are played from the blues!

I have to say that in all my years as a Nova Scotian golfer, I've never seen as much rain as we had this year.  Perhaps it's the catalyst the course managers needed to allow the right changes.

Ian Andrew

Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2008, 06:31:00 PM »
Tim,

The waterfall is back right of the 11th green.

Steve,

I asked Joe Robinson to join me for the walkaround along with the surperintendent and assistant. I've played with Joe on previous trips and enjoy his deep knowledge of the course. Walking the course was even better than playing with him. There was more time for rememberences, he was a wealth of information, dates, ways things once played, etc.

I still can't believe that he wasn't consulted back in 1996.

Dan Herrmann

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2008, 07:29:46 PM »
Tim, my brother-in-laws parents from County Wicklow, Ireland also experienced horrible rains this year.   There was a lot of flooding in IRL.   

Ian - thanks so much for your work.  Perfect golf vacation - stay in Cheticamp, drive the Cabot Trail, and play Highland Links.  Aah, I miss it so.

For those that don't know it, Highlands Links is in a National Park.  The park has areas that look like Alaskan tundra, dramatic seside cliffs, and tons of moose.  It's an exceptional place that is must experience for any lover of golf architecture.

Steve_ Shaffer

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2008, 07:39:13 PM »
How far is Crowbush Resort and the Links of Crowbush Cove GC from Cabot Links?

Travel with Style on TGC featured PEI recently.

"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan ďThe most important shot in golf is the next oneĒ

Dan Herrmann

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2008, 07:50:23 PM »
Steve - If you take Confederation Bridge, i'd give it a day.  It's probably quicker if you take the ferry which is well east of the bridge.

Honestly, I'd split PEI and Cape Breton up.  I think a week in Cape Breton is heaven.  Whale watching, bald eagles galore, history, super golf, etc.  Plus, the culture of Cape Breton is so grand - its music is a wonderful blend of Celtic, French, and Canadian. 

It's only a 2 day drive from Philly, and once you get north of Portland, ME, it's all clear sailing.  First day, drive to Bangor.  2nd day, drive through NB into NS and out onto Cape Breton.  (I love road trips)

Don Hyslop

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2008, 06:13:42 AM »
 Check out what is termed Cape Breton's Fabulous Four:
http://www.golfcapebreton.com/

With these four plus Cabot Links soon to be a reality, Cape Breton will be an even greater golf destination than it is now.
Thompson golf holes were created to look as if they had always been there and were always meant to be there.

Yannick Pilon

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2008, 08:58:25 AM »
The Fab four will now have to be transformed into a Fab Six, with Cabot Links and the new Graham Cooke course just south of Sydney opening next year. ( http://www.thelakesgolfclub.ca/index.asp) I don't particularly like the name of it, but I know for sure that it will be a fun course....

Cape Breton will definately be worth visiting for a golf trip....  As if Highland Links alone wasn't a good enough reason before!!! ;D

YP
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 09:00:17 AM by Yannick Pilon »
www.yannickpilongolf.com - Golf Course Architecture, Quebec, Canada

Guy Nicholson

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2008, 09:51:56 AM »
Way to go, Ian. Progress, indeed.

Greg McMullin

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Re: Highland Links Progress
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2008, 09:02:24 AM »
Ian, thanks for the update and pictures. I can't wait to get back next summer and play the course. One question -- I noticed that you didn't include any photos of number 12. IMO this has to be one of the most claustrophobic greens on the course. Given it's location - hill behind, hill running down the right side -- is there anything that can be done to improve it?

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