Canada's first true links golf at Cabot Links ... Modavie Montreal's great waiter
CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA AND MONTREAL - Forgive the multiple datelines/placelines, but I've been jumping around the last couple days.
After spending a few days in Halifax, I made a quick dash up to Cape Breton on the weekend to play the 10 holes they have opened for now at Cabot Links golf course near Inverness. I'm happy to report that it's a glorious layout; Canada's first true links course on the shores of this wonderfully atmospheric island. The full 18 should open around July 1 of 2012, but for now they've made up 10 holes for folks to get a taste of links golf.
It's hard to get a true feel, given they're using a variety of holes from what will become the true front nine and back nine, but I"m happy to say that Ontario entrepeneur Ben Cowan-Dewar has pretty much nailed it with a course that wanders up and down along this glorious coast with a tremendous variety of holes. There are short par three's, including one that goes right down to the sea, and long par-four's bordering the beach, with the waves only a few yards aways. There's a double-green and the greens have enough swirls and bumps to make Scarlett Johansson jealous. Add in some gnarly rough, a few pot bunkers and a great, modern clubhouse with tremendous views of the glorious Atlantic Ocean and you've got something special.
It's awesome to play a true links course, as it's a vastly different game from the usual North American way of playing golf. For one thing, a bad shot that trickles along the ground is likely to roll at least 75 or 100 yards. On the negative side, you might find yourself hitting your 180-yard club 170 yards and then watch the ball roll another 30 yards and tumble into a nasty, green-side trap.
It's a lot of fun. And so is doing a bump-and-run seven-iron onto a swirling green and watching the ball roll up a big incline on the green and then roll back down and around towards the hole a la Tiger Woods at Augusta. It's creative golf that makes you think and rewards inventive players, and isn't that the way it should always be? It's bound to become one of the great success stories in Canadian golf, so hats off to Cowan-Dewar and all the great folks out on Cape Breton.
More to come in next year's Toronto Star golf magazine. And, if you need more right now, check out the story Ian Cruickshank did for me in Star Travel a few weeks back....
MODAVIE MONTREAL WINE BAR
Every once in a while in this job, you get lucky. After staying Sunday night in Moncton, I drove through the rain to Quebec and stopped for dinner in Old Montreal. I was here earlier this summer and wrote a story about Rue St. Paul, a glorious street in the old part of town.
I had walked past the Modavie Wine Bar a couple of times on that trip, but Monday night was the first time I'd stopped in. I was immediately glad I did, as the waiter, Lorenzo, made a great impression. He was friendly and jovial and fun and laughing and attentive and served up some great lamb chops and a lovely, rich lamb shank with perfect veggies.
I was so impressed I sent out a quick Twitter message to the restaurant, having spotted their Twitter "handle" (@modavie) when I looked at the menu. A few minutes after sending the "tweet," Lorenzo came over and said the owner, Bruno, had spotted my message and wanted to say thank you with a free glass of wine.
Isn't that nice? Some folks are skeptical of Twitter, as a few folks use it for purely personal (and often stupid) reasons. But I think it's a marvellous tool, and it certainly showed its power Monday night in Montreal.
More later this week on Halifax and Nova Scotia....
Check it out, for sure...