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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Breakdown of emotions while playing Tobiano
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.