st lucia

A Walking Tour of Cabot Saint Lucia

Coore & Crenshaw take us inside their new Caribbean marvel: Point Hardy Golf Club

Editor’s Note: As we wonder when artificial intelligence will start teasing us with images of holes that don’t or couldn’t exist (if it isn’t already), Point Hardy Golf Club tests the bounds of one’s belief. The golf at Cabot Saint Lucia didn’t come easy (the island’s wet season fought against the seeding of these slopes) but nothing so astounding comes without effort. A departure for Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who don’t specialize in audacious designs, Point Hardy is as bold an experience as one might find in the golfing world. And that world is better off that they took a chance on a rollicking parcel of tropical Eden. With greens dangling over the waves, tee boxes moored on craggy outcroppings and fairways that seem to climb into the clouds, many of its holes defy description—but it was still worth asking its architects to do so. –Tom Coyne

Note: These images were taking during the building of the golf course and do not represent the condition of the finished product.

No. 1 – Par 5, 508 yards

Ben Crenshaw: This is the climb. It gets you up the hill to the next nucleus of holes. It’s a pretty inviting par five. Plenty of room. I think it’s an interesting hole, and a great starting hole.

Bill Coore: Not everything could be on the ocean. The clubhouse and the starting point is down close to the ocean. That meant we had to climb almost immediately, because we’ve got this ground for Nos. 2-4 that’s very workable for golf. No. 1 is fairly short, and it’s got an extremely pure second shot.

No. 2 – Par 4, 453 yards

Ben Crenshaw: Then you get up to No. 2, and it’s one of the prettiest holes on the property; it’s high on the hill, just a beautiful par four. It swings up to the left and has a great green site that has this lava rock. 

Bill Coore: Yes, it’s kind of in a quarry.

Ben Crenshaw: It’s one of a lot of people’s favorite holes.

Bill Coore: It’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s not the seaside, but you see the ocean from it, and it’s beautiful.

No. 2 at Point Hardy Golf Club

No. 3 – Par 5, 524 yards

Ben Crenshaw: It’s a wonderful hole that goes down a little bit in the fairway, then starts climbing back up to the green, but not precipitously. It has a great dual entrance to the green. We’ve got a bunker in the middle making two nice entrances on either side. It’s a good situation.

Cabot St. Lucia 2 and 3
The second (foreground) and third holes run parallel to each other.
Looking back from behind the third green.

No. 4 – Par 3, 171 yards

Bill Coore: It’s a downhill, lengthy par three.

Ben Crenshaw: Right from the beginning when we got there it looked a bit Redan-ish. It definitely has those characteristics. Great spot for it too.

Bill Coore: It’s a good spot because we knew we had the fifth hole going down the canyon, and we had to get there. There was a pretty obvious connection between where No. 3 green and No. 5 tee were going to be. So how did we get there? This was a nice way to do it.

The Redan-like fourth.

No. 5 – Par 4, 385 yards

Ben Crenshaw: The fifth hole is unbelievable. It took a lot of dirt work. But now it’s the most beautiful hole—it goes right down through this channel. It’s like a canyon and it gives you this beautiful green up there. Then in the distance, you can see the sixth and seventh holes which are out close to the water. But it took a lot of work, that fifth fairway. Oh, my God.

Bill Coore: It was monumentally difficult because it was such a narrow, almost crevasse-like start. I remember walking up there to where the tee is now with [Cabot St. Lucia owner Ben Cowan-Dewer] and he said, “Bill, I believe you guys can build a couple of holes in this.” I remember looking at it and saying, “Ben, this thing is a canyon for a reason.”

No. 6 – Par 4, 392 yards

Cabot St. Lucia

Ben Crenshaw: Six is beautiful. Same thing as No. 5: great green site. A wonderful par four with a nice water feature on the right side of the fairway. We were trying to capture the water coming down the hill, and that’s in play.

Bill Coore: It’s so dramatic. From five tee looking down, you can see golf just cascading down to the ocean. Then you get to seven.

No. 7 – Par 3, 121 yards

Ben Crenshaw: Seven is on a little spit of land, perfect for a short three.

Bill Coore: It’s out on the peninsula, protruding out into the ocean. It’s a little baby pitch, well, depending on the weather. There may be days out there when you want to hit the ball about 3 feet off the ground. It’s completely different from No. 7 at Pebble Beach, but not much longer. 

Cabot St Lucia 7
An aerial view of No. 7, with a human for scale.

No. 8 – Par 4, 316 yards

Bill Coore: Then you walk off seven green on the same land out there on the ocean right onto the eighth tee. No. 8 is a short par four, with a tee shot over the ocean, with the green perched out there. Can’t wait for people to see it. 

No. 9 – Par 3, 161 yards

Ben Crenshaw: Nine’s green sits below you, with an unbelievable backdrop. It’s one of my favorites. My kind of little par three.

Bill Coore: And that gets you back to the clubhouse.

Cabot St Lucia 9 and 18
The convergence of the ninth (top) and 18th (bottom) greens.

No. 10 – Par 4, 344 yards

Bill Coore: No. 10 is short, but could actually play very long back up the hill. Watch out.

No. 11 – Par 5, 544 yards

Bill Coore: On No. 11, you see the ocean from the tee, but it cascades through some rolling ground. I think it’s a neat hole. It’s probably one that people won’t hear so much about because it’s not right on the ocean. It’s probably not one of the most visually spectacular holes, but it’s great.

No. 12 – Par 4, 475 yards

Ben Crenshaw: I really like the setting here. I love how the ball can gather going up to the green. It’s a really solid par 4.

No. 13 – Par 4, 464 yards

Bill Coore: Thirteen goes back toward the ocean and plays into a soft saddle in the fairway. Then downhill from there to the green, set next to a lake. Normally, I’ve been a believer that man-made lakes on sites where you can also see the ocean mostly turn into true examples of man’s futility. But in this case, there were a couple lakes that were already out there. Most of them had been more or less abandoned. We didn’t utilize them, other than for irrigation, but this green sits harder alongside one of those lakes.

Ben Crenshaw: I think one thing that we like about this course is the holes don’t resemble one another. They’re all a little different. They’re collectively individual holes, and there’s something about each one that gets your attention.

No. 14 – Par 5, 597 yards

Ben Crenshaw: Fourteen’s a mountainous par 5. It starts when you drive up into the fairway, tough shot. Then you play along a plateau there, and it drops again quite a bit. Finally you go back up to a high green, which is an unbelievable scene. It’s one of my favorite holes.

Bill Coore: We had a shaper on that dozer working that fairway for weeks. None of us ever wondered where he was—he was always on 14. We’re prejudiced but he did an unbelievable job with creating contours that look natural. And it ends with a green site that’s not on the ocean, but you think it’s right on it. 

Cabot St Lucia coast
The coast-hugging final stretch at Cabot Saint Lucia begins with the par-5 14th, seen at top left here before being grassed in. The final four holes play from southeast to northwest around the point at the tip of the island.

No. 15 – Par 4, 340 yards

Bill Coore: Our comfort zone would have probably been to avoid what turned out to be a couple of extraordinarily dramatic holes, knowing how much work it was going to take to make those holes playable for golf, and [Cowan-Dewar] said, “Go for it.” He was never out there saying, “You should do this or do that.” It was, “I think you can build something spectacular here.” No. 15 is one of those that required so much work and alteration, and we like it, but we’ll leave it to others to see if they agree.

Two days ago, we walked down to 15 tee and I saw Ben get one of the guys to take a picture of him standing on the tee with the hole, the fairway in the background across the ocean and I thought, in all these years Ben and I have been together, I’ve never seen that. That tells you something.

Cabot St. Lucia 15-18
The 15th (bottom left) is a short two-shotter with a blind ocean carry, reminiscent of the 17th at Coore and Crenshaw’s Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia.

No. 16 – Par 3, 138 yards

Bill Coore: Great par three over the ocean, up to the peninsula.

Ben Crenshaw: That’s one of the prettiest sights on the course. It does remind you of Cypress Point.

Bill Coore: Anyone who’s ever played golf will say, “Oh, I can see a hole there.” If you can’t see a hole there, you definitely need to be in a different line of business. Or not even play.

Cabot St Lucia 16
The 15th green rolls seamlessly into the all-carry 16th. Waiting beyond? Another jaw-dropping par 3.

No. 17 – Par 3, 180 yards

Bill Coore: At one time, we were really considering going from 16 green up toward what is now 18 tee, and that would have meant pretty significant travel, which we don’t like. And [Cowan-Dewar] said we should build a par 3 right here over the ocean. I remember us saying “Really? We’re going to build a hole here?” Because you couldn’t see the green site. It was tucked over the cliff and pretty extreme. I was reluctant about that.

So, [Bandon Dunes owner] Mike Keiser has a thing when he walks courses early in the routing and he has his own grading system. The first time he walks around, he gives holes anywhere from 0 to 10. I would have given the spot for 17 maybe 0.5, because, look, there was real potential of danger. But Mike came through and gave it a 10. And I’m just looking at him. What? A 10? I didn’t even know how we were going to build out here. 

I remember walking out there with our shaper Trevor Dormer, and saying the only way we could ever play this hole is to build a giant catcher’s mitt up here for a green. And went about punching it and somehow turned it into a really interesting hole.

Cabot St. Lucia 17
The hero shot at No. 17.

No. 18 – Par 4, 448 yards

Ben Crenshaw: 18 is a neat finishing hole. Great gambling hole. If you drive it close to the right side of the fairway, which is the dangerous side, you’ve got a beautiful shot across the water to the green. And there’s an alternative second shot for lesser players, with a fairway on the left. But it’s all risk/reward.

Bill Coore: The 18th green is almost adjacent to the ninth green. So you’re right back where you started.

Cabot 18