Canadian developer Cabot has announced its third project, an 18-hole course, 150-room hotel and real estate offering in the British Columbia ski resort of Revelstoke. The course will be designed by Rod Whitman, now of the newly founded firm of Whitman, Axland & Cutten (WAC), and the designer of Cabot Links in Cape Breton, the developer’s first project. Site clearance will start this winter, and the course is expected to be ready for play in 2023.
“We are always looking at sites, all around the world,” says Cabot CEO and co-founder Ben Cowan-Dewar. “Obviously we are Canadian-based, but we were not looking to do anything else in Atlantic Canada, but this opportunity in Revelstoke is too good to ignore. The site has been available for some time – Faldo Design had done a routing plan, but that project didn’t make it through the financial crisis. Two and a half years ago I looked at the site and straight afterwards I called Rod and said, ‘I have an opportunity for you’.”
The Revelstoke ski resort opened for the first time in 2007 and offers the greatest vertical drop of any such resort in North America; the town is known as the heli-skiing capital of the world. Golf has long been part of the resort development plans.
“Stanley Thompson’s courses in Banff and Jasper are great exemplars of what mountain golf could and should be,” says Keith Cutten of WAC. “So many mountain courses are either on flat land in valley bottoms, with very little interest, or alternatively are on ski hills that are really too steep for good golf. This site is different – it has constant contour, but isn’t too severe. The majority of the property is just gently rolling, with some big washes coming off the hillside. Very little will have to be manufactured, and I don’t see us using a lot of dynamite, if any at all – there are rock outcroppings, but nothing that impedes golf.”
Revelstoke is around 200 miles from Sagebrush, the mountain course created by Whitman (along with Richard Zokol and Armen Suny) that opened in 2009 and has gone through a number of financial problems during its existence. Cutten says that the two projects are not really comparable. “This site is so much better for golf than Sagebrush. The first hole there plays straight up a hill, and the eighth is completely manufactured. None of that will be necessary here.”
“We’re really excited about this project,” says Cowan-Dewar. “Although sand is rare in the mountains, there is a huge sandpit at one end of the property. And it is appropriate that it should be designed by this team. Rod is based in the neighbouring state of Alberta, and all three courses we've done in Canada have had Rod, Dave and Keith on them, so it’s wonderful to have them in their new company on this one.”