Cape Breton Island is home to three of Canada's top five public golf courses, according to one of the country's leading golf magazines.

SCOREGolf Magazine recruits panelists from across the country to play and rate courses each year. For 2017, 60 per cent of the top five were in Nova Scotia: top-ranked Cabot Cliffs, Cabot Links at three, and Cape Breton Highland Links at five.

Rick Young of SCOREGolf Magazine said it was no fluke that the little island caused such a big stir.

"There are people clamouring from all over the globe to get to Nova Scotia, to get to Cape Breton, and to get up to the shoreline and play," he told CBC News in a phone interview Monday.

"Those three golf courses are three of the pre-eminent golf courses in this country," he added.

'Seaside links golf at its finest'

Young noted that Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links are close neighbours in Inverness and Highland Links is another two hours' drive north. Throw in a trip around the Cabot Trail and you've got an irresistible attraction, he said.  

He described Cliffs, which opened in 2015, as "seaside links golf at its finest." Both Cabot courses sit atop the disused coal mines that were once the backbone of Inverness. 

Travel-Trip-Atlantic Canada-Golf

The Cabot Links golf course in Inverness ranked third for best public courses in Canada. (The Associated Press)

Young said the two Cabot courses appeal to golfers who pine for the "links" golfing of Britain, which refers to courses set on land that links communities to the ocean. 

"If you want a links experience, if you want that feel of the ocean breeze at your back, you will certainly get that at either of those golf courses. It's as real as links golf can get," he said.

The Highlands course was created by Stanley Thompson, one of Canada's greatest course designers. He also designed the two non-Nova Scotia entries on the top five: Fairmont Jasper Park and Fairmont Banff Springs.

Built for everyday golfers

David Campbell, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Golf Association, said it's likely only news to golfers outside of Nova Scotia. The association estimates that 140,000 Nova Scotians play at least a round each year.

"I think it's a good indication of what we already know in Nova Scotia — that Nova Scotia is a wonderful and amazing golf destination."

The triple lure of the three Cape Breton courses sets the province apart, he said, and while they're world class, they're not exclusionary.

"They didn't build these golf courses for PGA tour professionals, they built them for everyday golfers."