Unlike most other courses that appropriate the term, Cabot Links (902.258.4653, www.cabotlinks.com) actually is a links. The year-old Rod Whitman layout on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island is rich in the traits that identify the traditional layouts of Scotland and Ireland—sandy soil along the water’s edge, persistent wind, and landscape that resembles an unmade bed. Getting to Cabot Links is half the fun, as this thrilling throwback is a long way from anything, nestled between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the main street of tiny Inverness. (Golfers can stay at the property’s new 48-room lodge.) Whitman, a Canadian, artfully laid out the 18 holes to present every possible breeze and incorporate natural features such as dunes, water, and wild vegetation. A walking-only course (with a stable of helpful caddies), Cabot Links appears centuries old, a robust reminder of what the game must have been like in the British Isles long ago—and almost as far away.