Construction of a new golf course in St Lucia, designed by Coore & Crenshaw, could begin in autumn 2019.
Speaking with GCA, architect Bill Coore said: “The opportunity came about through Ben Cowan-Dewar – the founder of Cabot Links in Nova Scotia – and Mike Keiser, who partnered with him to create Cabot. Like the site in Nova Scotia that became Cabot Links, Cowan-Dewar found this property.”
The St Lucia development will become the second resort in Cabot’s portfolio, following the highly-acclaimed two courses at the Cabot Links resort in Canada.
The project will include a residential community and resort and is located on St Lucia’s northern coastline near the newly-named Sandals Golf and Country Club, where Greg Norman’s firm has nearly completed a renovation of the former St Lucia Golf Club.
“The brief was to study this site to see if we could lay out a golf course that we felt would be complementary to the site and make for some interesting golf,” said Coore.
“It is a site that is spectacular beyond description. The visuals of the golf course will definitely not be an issue! That would be an understatement. The challenge and our goal is to create a golf course that is as playable and interesting as it is remarkable. Part of the nature of the site is that there’s significant elevation change as you can imagine on a Caribbean island, and while that provides these almost unprecedented views, vistas and situations, it also brings with it the challenge of how do you make these holes playable and enjoyable. It’s a site that you have to see to believe.
“There are a number of holes that are immediately adjacent to the cliffs and the ocean. It’s not going to be a course without drama!”
When asked about the highlights of the layout, Coore said: “Most people would point to the holes alongside the ocean, whether it’s seven, eight, nine or fifteen through to eighteen. But I have to say that while those are going to be the holes that people will talk about the most because of their spectacular nature and their proximity to the sea, some of the inland holes are quite interesting. I think for Ben and me, we will find it very interesting trying to work with those holes because while they’re not as visually spectacular, they’ll provide some situations for some very interesting golf and that’s what we look for.”
Construction of the golf course is expected to start in autumn, following the completion of engineering work for the course and, mostly, the surrounding infrastructure.
“We hope that some of the ‘setting the table’ – getting the foundations set with clearing, drainage work and the beginning of some of the significant earthwork – could start by October,” said Coore. “Some of the feature shaping like fairways and greens could happen in November or December, but I feel pretty confident that it’ll be happening right after the first of the year.”
Cowan-Dewar aims to have the course open for winter 2021/22. “The Caribbean is a climate conducive to growing grass, so once the grassing part is completed, the grow-in and preparation for opening is not going to be interrupted by winter season,” said Coore.
“For me personally, I have been so impressed by the people who live there. It is a very pleasant place to go, it’s comfortable and welcoming.”
Coore & Crenshaw has also been working on the Plantation course at the Kapalua resort in Maui, Hawaii, where grassing is almost complete and the course is on track for a November reopening ahead of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which is the calendar-year opener for the PGA Tour.