Team Cabot is going to the Caribbean, and in their suitcase of success, Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser, co-founders of the popular Canadian destination, are packing a few key items: A dramatic coastline, better weather, and the design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
The groundbreaking ceremony for Cabot Saint Lucia was on Friday, June 14, which is the beginning of a 375-acre master plan, which will include Cabot Point, an 18-hole course by Coore and Crenshaw, a 50-suite boutique hotel, clubhouse, spa, retail shops, and three restaurants, all surrounded by a variety of residences and beachfront lots that will range in price from $760,000 to $10 million.
Other than that, not much to see here.
Except for maybe all that is Saint Lucia itself. The Caribbean island is 27 miles long, 14 miles wide, and the sovereign island country is roughly a 5-hour flight from Atlanta, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Toronto, which, in part, is why it was so attractive to Cowan-Dewar.
“We were looking for a seasonal asset to Nova Scotia,” he says. “And when I saw this property, I had a similar feeling as to the one I had when I saw the land that became Cabot Links and Cliffs.”
Saint Lucia already lists two 9-hole courses and an 18-hole course, Sandals Saint Lucia Golf and Country Club, which is being renovated by Greg Norman.
What will become Cabot Point is actually on what would’ve been a Jack Nicklaus design had those plans not met the fate of the economic crisis of 2008. Cowan-Dewar first saw the property in January, 2016, and it was good enough to bring Keiser back a month later.
“When we worked with Bill and Ben on Cabot Cliffs,” says Cowan-Dewar, “I didn’t think we could find land like that ever again. And in Saint Lucia, I think we did.”
Coore agrees with Cowan-Dewar.
“It’s more visually special than Cabot Cliffs,” says Coore. “I know that’s hard to imagine, but building a beautiful golf course on that land is going to be the easiest thing in the world.”
The challenge, Coore admits, is making it playable. Saint Lucia is one of the more mountainous islands in the Caribbean, with the topography drawing comparisons to Kapalua’s Plantation Course on Maui, which Coore and Crenshaw just finished updating. With a stop off in Oregon to add the Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes, which will account for coastal winds and weather by eliminating bunkers entirely, Coore will again keep a sharp focus on the playability at Cabot Point.
“We’re excited about the challenge,” he says. “If we can get remotely close to making it as playable as it will be visual, then it will be truly special.”
With at least nine of the holes having oceanfront greens, Cowan-Dewar expects small amounts of preview play on Cabot Point by the end of 2020, with an official opening in 2021.
Meanwhile, Cabot Cliffs is No. 9 on Golf Digest’s list of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and Cabot Links is No. 43. Having sold all the cottages they developed at Cabot in Nova Scotia, Keiser and Cowan-Dewar are off to the Caribbean to up both their resort and real estate games at Cabot Saint Lucia.
Which, as Coore said, is hard to imagine.