One hundred and eighty miles north of the U.S. Border in rural British Columbia is the village of Kamloops. I knew about good golf here, but I didn’t expect to find such a stunning experience as Tobiano Golf Course. After a windy four and one-half drive east from Whistler through remote mountain terrain, Kamloops Lake glistens in the afternoon sun to the north. With few trees between the Trans-Canada Highway and the lake, a sweeping vista of the golf course elicits a smile.
The flat topped V-shaped clubhouse designed with deep beams and sweeping glass includes a well appointment bar with superb food. Several wood and stone ranch houses share the golf, lake and mountain vistas beyond. It is a tranquil setting.
Peak summer rates between $75-$135 are a superb value.
Tobiano Golf Course
Opening for play in 2007, the popular Canadian architect Tom McBroom designed a masterful and challenging layout. Of his twelve courses in the Canada Top 100, Tobiano ranks highest. SCOREGolf ranks it as one of the top three courses in British Columbia.
A links course with bentgrass greens and fairways, the conditioning is so superb it regularly receives awards. There are few tee boxes or mounds. They place tall rusted metal tee markers in the fairway at intervals. Hence, you can cart close to the tee.
The layout is frightening to higher handicappers as many tee shots require carries across deep canyons. This is especially treacherous when the winds are blowing. Fortunately, the greens are generously large. False fronts and mounded slopes green-side encourage golfers to put from a distance. Fescue several feet high gobbles balls that miss the narrow rough. Mounded and undulating fairways alternate with wide gently sloping fairways bringing variety.
Detailed hole-descriptions complete with excellent playing suggestions on the high quality GPS screen can be a savior.
Plateaued greens characterize several of the Par3s. They exemplify this at the seventh. Sitting on top of a hill surrounded by steep scraggly bushes, a measly five to ten yards of rough that slopes away from the green protects against catastrophe.
Holes eight and thirteen illustrate the treachery. They are both par 5’s with scary tee shots over deep canyons to seemingly distant and tiny fairways. On the eighth, the landing area looks like a plateaued fairway. You can’t see much fairway, so trust your swing, there is plenty of room.
It will test your patience. Commit to a target line and desired landing area for best results. When you veer offline into nasty areas, take your medicine and get back in play. Then enjoy the views.