Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia

Words by
Zoe Dare Hall

26th June 2023

SPHERE speaks to the world-class team behind Cabot Saint Lucia's epic ocean-side golf course, including a par that requires players to launch shots across the ocean.

Presented by Cabot Saint Lucia 

Epic golf at Cabot Saint Lucia needs an epic setting. Picture it: on the northernmost, verdant volcanic tip of the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia, a place of extraordinary raw, rugged and unspoilt beauty awaits. This is a landscape whose hills sprawl along the wild Atlantic coastline like gnarled sleeping giants ready to rear up from the waves, and where jagged rocky outcrops hug hidden, sandy coves.

It is also where a golfing dream team — the legendary course designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, along with Ben Cowan-Dewar, co-founder of Cabot, whose world-class courses in Canada, the United States, Scotland and the Caribbean have made him one of the hottest names in golf resort development — have carved out a course that is leaving former pros, course designers and the most hardened golf hacks lost for words.

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia
Cabot Saint Lucia

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia

“Emotional” is how the Canadian designer Trevor Dormer describes Cabot Saint Lucia’s Point Hardy course, where five of the nine holes — including the eminently Instagrammable par-3 16th — require players to launch shots across the ocean.

The terrain soars and plunges, at times bookended by 80-foot drops to the waves below. It’s bold and it’s breathtaking. There is no exaggeration in play when Coore describes it as “fantasy golf”.

Were this his life’s work, adds Toronto-based Cowan-Dewar, who is just 43 years old, he’d be thrilled. Faced with such singular natural beauty, however, the challenge is how to design a demanding but very playable course that can compete with the surroundings.

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia
The Point Hardy Course at Cabot Saint Lucia. The golf takes the most beautiful ocean-front land, and homes are positioned behind.

There are homes to weave into the mix too. There will eventually be 300 across the 375-acre site, ranging from plots with a three- or four-bedroom bluffside or hillside villas for $1.6 million, and turnkey four-bed Fairway Villas overlooking the 11th hole from $3.5 million, to large four- to six-bedroom Ocean Villas on plots averaging 20,000 sq ft for $8.75 million.

Also due for release in December this year, when the golf course will open, are standalone beach villas and condos. When it came to ensuring that the properties gain maximum benefit from the beguiling landscape, but without interrupting the sense of limitless Caribbean wilderness, Cabot took a steer from its first ever project, Cabot Cape Breton, explains Jules Cowan-Dewar, the company’s chief marketing officer, and Ben Cowan-Dewar’s sister.

“The golf takes the most beautiful ocean-front land, and homes are positioned behind that. Every home and lot will have expansive views of the ocean as the highest part of the site is inland and it slopes down towards the ocean to the north, east and south, creating incredible sunrise and sunset views,” she explains.

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia
There will eventually be 300 residences across the 375-acre site, ranging from plots with a three or four-bedroom bluffside or hillside villas, turnkey four-bed Fairway Villas overlooking the 11th hole, and large four to six-bedroom Ocean Villas.

“We were also very intentional about keeping the number of lots down to give each home more space and allow us to nestle homes into lots. That way, they aren’t perched out over each other. They blend naturally into the landscape.”

Experts at that, too, are the London-based architects at Studio RHE. The studio’s  past projects such as Zil Pasyon in the Seychelles show its skill in designing high-end, sustainable homes that merge into nature.

Here, as the concept architect for the entire resort, Studio RHE had “the best Atlantic site on Saint Lucia and the world’s greatest golf course design” to work with, explains the practice’s founder, Richard Hywel Evans. To that, he brings a “naturally modern” style of architecture, using robust, locally sourced natural materials and large glazed areas to take full advantage of the spellbinding views.

Those who purchase the small number of fully furnished, turnkey homes can expect to be handed their keys in late 2024. “But most of our sales have been for lots with specific homes designed for each lot, and a small number of buyers are designing a home with their own architect. This mix allows buyers to choose the home style, size and type that best suits their family’s needs, and creates a real community in the sense that not every home looks or feels the same,” explains Jules Cowan-Dewar.

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia
Those who purchase the small number of fully furnished, turnkey homes can expect to be handed their keys in late 2024.

Buyers include fans of the Cabot brand who have followed Ben Cowan-Dewar to Saint Lucia. There are die-hard Coore and Crenshaw admirers too, such as Don Harvey, the managing director of a construction advisory company and member of an early Coore/Crenshaw course, Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee, near his home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Harvey’s appreciation of the duo’s work — “the holes all have a natural, minimalist feel to them,” he says — led him to buy a “one of a kind” plot of land, overlooking the private Secret Beach, at Cabot Saint Lucia, which he will enjoy with his wife and two children. “When I walked Cabot Saint Lucia, it reminded me a little of Old Head (a links course in Ireland), with the cliffs, the water, the sights. It’s spectacular,” he comments. “The first thing I noticed is that you can see the water from every hole on the course, which blew me away. We also overlook the 16th hole, which is going to be absolutely beautiful. Give it five years and this course will be world-renowned.”

While many golf courses attract a ‘buddy golf trip’ crowd, Ben Cowan-Dewar feels that Cabot Saint Lucia will largely be a destination for families and couples. The property offers a wide range of amenities, from state-of-the-art fitness facilities, water sports and wellness offerings to a beach club, toes-in-the-sand dining and retail experiences.

Epic Golf at Cabot Saint Lucia
Cabot Saint Lucia resort from the air.

Drawn as he is to the golf offering, Harvey agrees that the best thing about the development is that “it’s not just about golf. There’s going to be so much more,” he says. “It was interesting to watch the change in my wife’s perspective after going down there and meeting the people and seeing the property. She was sold.”

Andrew Alkenbrack, the resort’s COO, adds that many families with young children or grandchildren are seeing this as “an opportunity to spend time together in an incredible climate on a property with amazing amenities, surrounded by a wonderful community.”

There are no restrictions on who can buy property in Saint Lucia or how much time they can spend on the island. Foreign buyers who invest at least $200,000 in property can apply for the Citizenship by Investment programme, which grants a Saint Lucian passport. Holders are entitled to visa-free travel to 146 destinations, including Europe’s Schengen Area, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

Cabot Saint Lucia is, naturally, big news in Saint Lucia, where the mountainous terrain and protected coastline mean luxury development is restricted to certain pockets — notably around the famous Pitons peaks in the south and the Cap Estate, of which Cabot Saint Lucia is a part, in the north. And unless you make the journey from Hewanorra International Airport in the south as a 10-minute helicopter hop, anyone heading to Cabot Saint Lucia will have plenty of opportunity to soak up the scenery in the two-hour car journey through banana plantations and remote villages, and along mountain passes.

This new community, however, will make waves far further afield, putting Saint Lucia firmly on the golfing map. “It promises to be one of the best golf experiences on the planet,” says Alkenbrack. “The efforts of the Coore-Crenshaw team have exceeded our very lofty expectations for this site. While golf may play the lead as we get started, we are looking forward to layering in other experiences that will ensure this becomes a highly sought-after destination.”

Time to rewrite that bucket list for this winter, when it won’t just be the setting, but Saint Lucia’s newest golf course, that is making waves.

Cabot Saint Lucia