Golf Blog

Prince Edward Island

Through the golf gossip grapevine I heard about this magical place in Canada where the fairways are lined with gold, the lobsters grow on trees, and it rains cookie dough ice cream. This land of enchantment was called Prince Edward Island (PEI). Needless to say, the expectations were high as I stepped off of the plane at the small airport in Charlottetown on PEI.

As it turns out, the lobsters grow in the nearby sea, the fairways are lined with manicured bent grass, and they serve ice cream at COWS creamery. So the rumors were not entirely inaccurate. The official tag line for Golf PEI is “Over 400 fairways closer than you can imagine.” The statement is a fitting one because the golf is good, it is plentiful, and all of the courses that we played on this trip were within a 30 minute drive from our boutique accommodations at the Hillhurst Hotel.

The 2nd hole at Glasgow Hills Golf Club

The 2nd hole at Glasgow Hills Golf Club

As I sat in the restaurant of the Hillhurst Hotel getting ready for our early morning round at Glasgow Hills, a gentlemen across the way asked “Are you Patrick?” “Why yes I am.” I replied. It turns out that this man was no gentleman. It was the sometimes reclusive and often eccentric “Bogey Train Bobby.” Bobby hails from Bali and has a passion for mediocre golf on high end golf courses. He strives for excellence but is perfectly content with lipping out for par and tapping in for 5. The bogey fist pump is alive and well with this man and I was excited to document the magic of his passion for mediocrity. We jumped right into the golf action at the nearby Glasgow Hills.

Head Professional, Woody Bishop showed us the ways around Glasgow Hills.

Head Professional, Woody Bishop showed us the ways around Glasgow Hills.

Bogey Train Bobby gets the bogey party started at Glasgow Hills.

Bogey Train Bobby gets the bogey party started at Glasgow Hills.

Below you will find our first block of Instagram stories from Bogey Train’s PEI adventure. The man loves oysters and eats lobsters with no regard for human decency. On his home land of Bali, he is referred to as the “Lobster Man” because of his passion for the delicious sea crustacean.

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The next course on our PEI agenda was another little gem called Andersons Creek. We never figured out who Anderson was but we enjoyed his creek thoroughly. We even made a couple of golf ball donations. I think Bogey Train put 3 in the creek on #4. The course is scenic and a lot of fun to play.

Things heat up on the 3rd hole at Andersons Creek.

Things heat up on the 3rd hole at Andersons Creek.

Bogey Train hammers one into the trees on the right of 15.

Bogey Train hammers one into the trees on the right of 15.

The 2nd hole at Anderson Creek.

The 2nd hole at Anderson Creek.

Rain threatened but never showed up for our round at Anderson Creek.

Rain threatened but never showed up for our round at Anderson Creek.

After several rounds in the books for Bobby and I, it was time to welcome the rest of our PEI crew. This group was rowdy and ready to go.

  • Sarah Moodie - Nicknamed Smooderoo on the gram, she’s not an alcoholic golfer, she just plays one on Instagram.

  • Sean Ogle - Founder of Breaking Eighty, breaks eighty… sometimes.

  • Klea Armstrong - Amazing golf ball whacker girl.

  • The Weekend Golfer - If it’s a weekend, you know what he’s doing.

After an unbelievable dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, we headed out for 36 holes at the Dundarave and Brudenell River Golf Courses. Both courses are on the same piece of land but they play very differently. The Dundarave course is a Hurdzan and Fry design that opened it’s doors in 1999. With a number of spectacular holes along the river, the course is a must play when visiting PEI.

The signature hole on the Dundarave course is a short yet challenging par 4.

The signature hole on the Dundarave course is a short yet challenging par 4.

The finishing hole on Dundarave.

The finishing hole on Dundarave.

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The Brudenell River course opened up in 1969 and is a local favorite with just about everyone. If there was a golf popularity contest on the island, Brudenell would easily win the popular vote. The golf course is more scorable than the Dundarave course and the two courses make for an excellent day of 36 holes.

The finishing hole at Brudenell river is short and sexy.

The finishing hole at Brudenell river is short and sexy.

The opening hole on the Brudenell River Golf Course

The opening hole on the Brudenell River Golf Course

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Sarah Moodie rips one down the middle on the penultimate hole at Brudenell River.

Sarah Moodie rips one down the middle on the penultimate hole at Brudenell River.

Up next we have our second installment of the Bogey Train Bobby highlight reel from Instagram stories. The hot tips and clutch bogies flowed freely from Bobby. I tried my best to sit back and soak up the experience, the pearls of wisdom were coming fast and furious. I hurriedly scribbled down as much knowledge as I could on the inside of the scorecard.

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At this point it is important to pause and recognize the deliciousness and abundancy of the lobster on PEI. I set a new personal best by having lobster for dinner 4 nights in a row. Since, I did not have lobster even once in 2018, I was pretty stoked about the situation.

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When most people think of golf on PEI, they think of one course in particular, The Links at Crowbush Cove. The Thomas McBroom course debuted in 1994 as Canada’s best new golf course and has since hosted a number of premier events. The most notable being the 1998 Skins game featuring Mark O’Meara, Fred Couples, John Daly, and Canada’s own Mike Weir. Crowbush is recognized as the premier golfing experience on PEI and our crew was eager to play.

Things get sexy as you turn towards the ocean on the 6th and 7th holes.

Things get sexy as you turn towards the ocean on the 6th and 7th holes.

The 8th and 15th holes at Crowbush

The 8th and 15th holes at Crowbush

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Crowbush eases you into the round for the first 5 holes or so and after that it’s a golfing experience that you won’t soon forget. The course edges out to the ocean several times and comes back inland again providing a nice flow all the way through to the finish. We played right up until sunset and then headed back into town to experience another amazing dinner at Sims Steakhouse.

The 9th hole at Crowbush was one of my favorites.

The 9th hole at Crowbush was one of my favorites.

The 16th hole at Crowbush is one of the best on the property.

The 16th hole at Crowbush is one of the best on the property.

As we prepare for the recap of our final round of golf on the island, let’s take another dive into the world of Bogey Train Bobby. This man misses more putts for par than anyone I know and quite frankly, doesn’t give one damn. It’s all about the experience for Bobby. “Yeah, I do make some pars from time to time, but a bladed wedge over the green allows me to visit a part of the course that most people don’t get to see.” It’s apparent that Bobby just doesn’t feel comfortable riding a hot 2 hole par streak. “When I put together 2-3 good shots in a row, my body just naturally shuts down and the next thing I know I am hanging up a smooth 6 on the scorecard,” says Bobby.

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For the Prince Edward Island finale we were scheduled to take on Green Gables Golf Club. After such a high at Crowbush our crew wasn’t expecting another stunner of this magnitude. I might even put the round of golf at Green Gables above Crowbush. Absurdity you might say, but Green Gables has such a cool classic feel to it that I was instantly a huge fan.

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The deliciously fun 5th hole plays over a small creek.

The deliciously fun 5th hole plays over a small creek.

The Weekend Golfer golfing on a Wednesday!

The Weekend Golfer golfing on a Wednesday!

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The 18th and final hole of our  Golf PEI  adventure at Green Gables

The 18th and final hole of our Golf PEI adventure at Green Gables

Because Prince Edward Island is so much more than just great golf, it was fitting that the adventure ended with one of the most fantastic dining experiences that I have been a part of. World renowned Chef Michael Smith has put together something that he calls the Fireworks Feast at The Inn at Bay Fortune. The experience starts with a guided farm tour, moves into an oyster hour at 6pm, and culminates with the Fireworks Feast in the evening. I was expecting bottle rockets and M80’s but instead I got a stomachful of delicious goodness. As an amateur food critic I don’t believe that my food palate was capable of doing this event justice.

Chef Michael Smith gave an inspired toast and posed for pictures with Sean and I.

Chef Michael Smith gave an inspired toast and posed for pictures with Sean and I.

The 6pm oyster hour… easily the best oysters I have had.

The 6pm oyster hour… easily the best oysters I have had.

The fire altar is serious business.

The fire altar is serious business.

If a trip to Prince Edward Island comes across your plate, I would highly suggest that you jump on the opportunity. Lush fairways, great people, and plenty of amazing food await your arrival. Your golfing destination starts here with Golf PEI.

O Canada

For years, I kept hearing about this place in Canada called Kamloops. I would hear things like “Oh you gotta go to Kamloops.” or “What!?! You have never been to Kamloops?” So when the folks over at Golf Kamloops came calling, I was pretty excited to work with them. I replied with a “Yes, I have heard about your glorious golf courses, yes, I will come and yes, golf them hard...” or something like that. Over the next 4 days I would golf 6 courses in the Kamloops area. The first course on the list was a place called Talking Rock Golf Course.

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Since opening on the shores of Lake Shuswap in 2007, the golf course and the accompanying Quaaout Lodge have been held in high regard by the local golfers. Everywhere I went in the area, people wanted to make sure that I saw Talking Rock. For several days I had the pleasure of talking in Talking Rock. There was a hot tub in my room and a golf course in my back yard. I was a happy man.

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That’s a bear in the bunker… a bear bunker

That’s a bear in the bunker… a bear bunker

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Talking Rock Golf Course was designed by renowned Canadian Architects Graham Cooke and Wayne Carlton. Cooke and Carlton didn’t move much dirt in the creation of the course, so the end result is a very natural feeling round of golf. Even though the majority of the course meanders through the forest, it doesn’t feel tight and offers plenty of room off of the tee for sideways shots. The course finds it’s way out of the forest for a great finishing hole right on the banks of the Shuswap Lake.

Instead of wagering for cash at Talking Rock, we played for push-ups. As you can see in the graph below, there is a direct correlation between bogies made and push-ups completed. We even ran into the local golf dog after we pumped up our pecs. I didn’t catch the pupper’s name, but those eyes tell you all the story you need. This dog loves golf and he loves Talking Rock Golf Course.

Every golf course needs a golf dog.

Every golf course needs a golf dog.

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The penalty for poor play is push-ups on the pier.

The penalty for poor play is push-ups on the pier.

The next day I was set to take in some Kamloops local flavor with a day of 36. It was The Dunes at Kamloops and Rivershore Golf Club. Just like all of the courses on this post, both of these courses are public places that anyone can play and enjoy. Set against the mountainside, Rivershore and The Dunes are fun to play and offer some great views.

The 6th hole at The Dunes at Kamloops is a short par 3.

The 6th hole at The Dunes at Kamloops is a short par 3.

The 7th hole at The Dunes plays right up to the river.

The 7th hole at The Dunes plays right up to the river.

The finishing hole at Rivershore

The finishing hole at Rivershore

The 16th hole at Rivershore was one of my favorites on the golf course.

The 16th hole at Rivershore was one of my favorites on the golf course.

The view from above Rivershore

The view from above Rivershore

A couple of local golfing studs crashed the golf party at Rivershore. I love a good interruption.

A couple of local golfing studs crashed the golf party at Rivershore. I love a good interruption.

The next golf course was the big ticket item, it’s the one that you may already know about. It was time to play Tobiano. Or as I like to say “It’s Tobiano Time!” I was set to tee it up with the head professional at Tobiano, Shannon. With the golf world dominated by men, it’s always encouraging to see a female in a leadership position. It’s even better when it’s someone like Shannon. Not only can Shannon golf her ball, but she brings the jokes and a seriously fun attitude.

I would rank Tobiano as one of the top 10 most beautiful golf courses that I have seen in my travels. Having seen nearly 1000 golf courses all across the globe, that should say something about the setting for golf at Tobiano. Kamloops Lake is in view from every hole on the property and Thomas McBroom has routed the course to take full advantage. With lakeside holes on both the front and back nines, Tobiano does not let down.

The 7th hole at Tobiano is a signature par 3.

The 7th hole at Tobiano is a signature par 3.

Breakdown of emotions while playing Tobiano

The 8th hole is a long and winding par 5 that finishes close to the water.

The 8th hole is a long and winding par 5 that finishes close to the water.

The 17th hole is Tobiano’s last chance for an ace.

The 17th hole is Tobiano’s last chance for an ace.

I had the pleasure of celebrating 14 years of sobriety with my new friends at Tobiano. After making a glorious eagle on the 16th hole, I ordered some cheesecake and they put a candle in it. It was another good day to not be drunk out of my mind.

One of the unique things about putting my sobriety out on the internet is the incredible amount of support that I have received. Messages from fellow recovering alcoholics and supporters came flowing in to congratulate me. I even received several messages from those struggling with alcohol and looking for some assistance in changing their lives. This was inspiring stuff for me. Embarking on a sober lifestyle will always be the most important decision that I have made in my life.

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Winds are a common occurrence at Tobiano and when it blows, you are guaranteed to have your hands full. Our group had 30-40 mph breezes and the course played just about as difficult as it can. We embraced the challenge on the head winds and hit some huge drives downwind.

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I couldn’t tell you the signature hole—because there are 18 of them.
— Bob Weeks - SCOREGolf

While I can certainly identify with Bob’s quote above, I would have to disagree. The 7th hole at Tobiano takes the signature title for me. Ranging from 109 to 197 yards, the green is perched on top of a large mountainous swale. It’s high stakes on the 7th, especially with the wind, come up short or long and it’s game over. On one of the most scenic pieces of the property, it is wildly exciting to watch your golf ball land on the green.

The 7th hole at Tobiano thrills and delights the golfer soul.

The 7th hole at Tobiano thrills and delights the golfer soul.

The crew at Tobiano!

The crew at Tobiano!

The swales on the 11th hole at Tobiano.

The swales on the 11th hole at Tobiano.

After the sun set on another beautiful day in Kamloops, I had time remaining for another 36 holes of golf. First up was another local favorite called Eagle Point Golf Course. On the heels of a golf tournament, we had the entire golf course to ourselves. Eagle Point was designed by Robert Heaslip who is best known for building straight-forward, affordable golf courses throughout Canada. Eagle Point is exactly that.

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The 15th hole at Eagle Point.

The 15th hole at Eagle Point.

Reflections at Eagle Point

Reflections at Eagle Point

The 9th hole at Kamloops Golf & Country Club

The 9th hole at Kamloops Golf & Country Club

The final round of my Golf Kamloops adventure was at Kamloops Golf & Country Club. Conveniently located right next to the Kamloops airport, Kamloops Golf & Country Club is another place that anyone can play. The course has a high quality country club vibe and is a classic round of golf. Afterwards I took the 5 minute drive to the airport and the 10 minute walk through airport security. As I am often stuck in security and dealing with long lines at the airport, the Kamloops airport was a big breath of fresh Canadian air.

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Overall, I was very impressed with Kamloops as a golf destination. The highlight are the two marquee golf courses in the area with Tobiano leading the charge and Talking Rock backing it up. When you pair those two up with the other four local golf courses in the area, you have a very affordable lineup of some good golf. If you are interesting in putting together your own golf adventure in Kamloops, the journey starts here.

Hot Times, Hot Springs... It's Harrison Hot Springs

“It feels like a totally different country up here.” I said those words out loud as I drove my Jeep Wrangler rental car out of the Vancouver airport and towards Harrison Mills, British Columbia in Canada. With such a short and easy flight from Sacramento, it felt like I had barely left California. Here I was hours later, driving the Canadian countryside on my way to Sandpiper Golf Resort to “Play the Piper.” When I arrived, I was thrilled to learn that I was staying in a tiny little golf cabin right on the 15th hole. The accommodations at Rowena’s Inn have been so popular that they are adding 7 more cabins to meet the demands of visiting golfers. It’s like you have your own little golf house out there.

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After checking into the golf cabin, I explored the property and scouted my plan of attack for the following day. My plan was simple, avoid the planes landing adjacent to the 17th fairway and make a ton of birdies.

The scouting report on the 16th hole.

The scouting report on the 16th hole.

The 17th hole runs adjacent to an airstrip for incoming planes filled with golfers.

The 17th hole runs adjacent to an airstrip for incoming planes filled with golfers.

This little lady demonstrates perfect form in the over the shoulder water pour pose.

This little lady demonstrates perfect form in the over the shoulder water pour pose.

The next day I got up early for a day of 36 with the Director of Golf at Sandpiper Golf Resort, Dave Corke. At Sandpiper, Dave is a little more than just the Director of Golf, he is also the most popular guy on the course. Not a group passed us by without a brief exchange of golf quips and handshakes. It was like getting a celebrity escort around the property. “Hey Dave! great putt for triple on that last hole.” “Play on through, Dave! We’ll just hide out here in the middle of the fairway, so you won’t hit us.” The jests and friendly smiles came in waves.

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As for the golf course itself, it’s got several main strengths. The first one is the high fun factor. The course is only 6,500 yards from the back tees and places a premium on accuracy off of the tee. The good news is that you won’t necessarily have to be accurate with your driver. Sandpiper offers plenty of shot options from the tee and club selection comes down to what you want to face with your second shot. When you have options, the fun factor really starts to rise. There are also several reachable par 5’s that will give you several good chances for an eagle. Making eagles is fun.

The second strength at Sandpiper is the beauty of the golf course’s surroundings. The majority of the course runs through chutes of tall stunning pine trees and reminded me a little of Sahalee Country Club in Seattle. The course picks up the ambiance further on the 15th hole when it reaches the banks of the Harrison River. With a handful of the finishing holes playing along the water, the views will delight the golf senses.

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If you happen to play Sandpiper in the months of October or November there is a 100% chance that you will find at least one eagle. However, that eagle will most likely be bald. Every year tens of thousands of bald eagles converge on Harrison and Sandpiper Golf Resort for some sort of bald eagle summit meeting. They line the trees and feast upon the spawning salmon. The story of the day goes to Dave Corke for his tale of salmon falling from the sky on the 9th tee box. A bald eagle had dropped his daily catch and the plummeting fish nearly hit Dave right in the head. Fortunately, Dave survived the ordeal and lives to tell the tale of flying salmon.

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After a rousing day of 36 at Sandpiper it was time to head down to Harrison Hot Springs and jump into full exploration and discovery mode. That’s right, it was time to begin the hunt for Bigfoot. With sightings all over the Harrison Hot Springs area, there is a wealth of information and lore on the hairy beast. I decide to jump right in and orchestrate my own Bigfoot expedition. First, I was going to need to conduct some research and fully investigate all of the available clues.

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All clues were fully investigated.

All clues were fully investigated.

Although the fresh fudge clue turned out to be a dead end, I received several hot tips from local fudge eaters that Bigfoot is real and in the area.

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There were many Bigfoot clues, but the biggest discovery was the fact that Bigfoot is indeed a fan of pizza.

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Following a hot lead, I decided to hike up to Whippoorwill Point to see if I could get my camera lens on the world’s most famous beast. On my way out to the point, I passed the source of the Harrison Hot Springs. Since the springs can reach up to 140 degrees, they are guarded by the trellis in the picture below. It is rumored that Bigfoot drinks the water directly from the springs, a potential source of his otherworldly strengths.

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As you can see below, a huge break through in the Bigfoot case was made on Sandy Cove on my way to Whippoorwill point. We are still awaiting the clinical results on the footprint pictured, but I think it is pretty obvious that this print is the real deal.

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Like almost every other Bigfoot adventure, mine would come up short in the end. The only shot of the hairy beast that I was able to capture was this picture of a replica Bigfoot in front of Muddy Waters Cafe. This particular Sasquatch is staring down the treats at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory which is also located on the main drive in downtown Harrison. Since he was frozen in stone, I had to eat the all of the chocolates myself.

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The scene in downtown Harrison is quaint and filled with all sorts of restaurants and scenic viewpoints. With the mountains on one side of the street and Lake Harrison on the other, the town is worth visiting for the sights alone. Fueled by the hot springs, you can go for a soak in the public pool, take in a fantastic meal at Morgan’s Bistro, or go for some ice cream on the the main drive. The stop at Morgan’s Bistro was easily my favorite meal of the trip. I took in a delicious halibut while overlooking Lake Harrison.

Standard sunset stroll in Harrison Hot Springs

Standard sunset stroll in Harrison Hot Springs

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Quick little evening workout session

Quick little evening workout session

My accommodations for the visit were at the nearby Harrison Beach Hotel. The hotel is located right in the heart of the scene and has balconies that overlook the lake. The photo below was actually taken from my personal balcony while I was in my underwear, which earned the hotel an unheard of 11/10 balcony rating.

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With only one day left in Harrison Hot Springs, I decided to pursue the Loch Ness Monster. That’s right, since I failed with Bigfoot, I was going after the second most legendary beast in the world. I would need a boat and an expert guide for this sort of mission and BC Sportfishing fit the bill perfectly. There were no real clues that the Loch Ness Monster was hiding out in Harrison Lake, but my all star guide, Anthony, told me there was a pretty good chance that we might catch some sturgeon. I happily boarded the boat.

Anthony has been providing fishing tours for over 20 years. Not only does he look like a pro, he is one.

Anthony has been providing fishing tours for over 20 years. Not only does he look like a pro, he is one.

Awaiting the nibbles…

Awaiting the nibbles…

Sturgeon can live to be over 100 years old and can grow to be over 20 feet long. These fish have been swimming in the sea for over 200 million years dating back to the triassic period. They might not be the Loch ness, but these fish sounded like the next best thing. Tony told stories of 2 hour battles with these ancient water beasts. However, my battle would last a quick 30 seconds as I reeled in a recording setting fish. When we put the tape measure down it measured a whopping 16.” It was indeed the smallest sturgeon ever captured. The largest sturgeon on record was a Beluga female captured in the Volga estuary in 1827, weighing 1,571 kg (3,463 lb) and 7.2 m (24 ft) long.

This sturgeon will likely live in the waters of Harrison Lake for the next 20 years.

This sturgeon will likely live in the waters of Harrison Lake for the next 20 years.

Even though I had not photographed Bigfoot or captured the Loch Ness Monster, I considered the trip to Harrison Hot Springs a raging success. After the fishing journey, I jumped on a plane back to the US with my new fishing record and a smile on my face.