By Andrew Penner
Perhaps the greatest thing about golf (besides the beverage cart, of course) is playing amazing, eye-popping golf holes where you just want to stop, soak it all in, take some selfies, and just revel in the incredible awesomeness of what lies before you. Indeed, playing great golf holes – absolute jaw droppers! – is always something to savour. And Kamloops features many of them.
I’ve been fortunate to play golf all over the world and write about my experiences. And I don’t take this for granted. It’s been an awesome ride! A few of my favourites are: Los Cabos, Cape Breton, North Carolina, Scotland, Arizona, and Hawaii. Obviously, all of these destinations boast spectacular courses with unforgettable golf holes. If you’re on Instagram, you’ve certainly seen a plethora of images – from a host of “influencers” – that capture these highlight-reel holes.
But, if you live in Western Canada, you don’t actually need to travel all that far to find a destination that belongs in the “most jaw-dropping holes” conversation. And it’s also one of my favourites! That’s right, Kamloops is, in my opinion, one of North America’s premier golf destinations, especially as it relates to “jaw droppers.”
So what are the most stunning holes in the area? The ones you’re most likely to see on Instagram? These would be my choices….
Talking Rock Golf Course
Hole #15, Par 3, 170 yards – This high-above-the-lake stunner is definitely a “poster child” for golf in the Kamloops region. You see shots of this hole, well, everywhere. And for good reason! The view from the tee – which includes a gorgeous look at Shuswap Lake framed with ragged mountains – is sublime.
Hole #8, Par 5, 545 yards – True, there are about 17 other holes that could also qualify as “jaw droppers” at Tobiano. However, the 8th, which highlights the most challenging stretch (holes 7 through 9) on this McBroom-designed masterpiece, is a lakeside legend teeming with trouble. Tip: stay left! But take plenty of photographs of everything to the right.
Bighorn Golf & Country Club
Hole #2, Par 4, 377 yards – Situated on an aerie bench overlooking Kamloops, the views (especially from the patio!) at the Bighorn Golf & Country Club are killer. And, careening along the base of a sage-smothered hillside, the par-4 2nd is an awesome introduction to this picturesque course. If you can get a shot with a few bighorn sheep in the background – Ding! Ding! Ding! – you win the grand prize. Which is 16 more great holes to come.
Sun Peaks Golf Course
Hole #16, Par 4, 323 yards – This terrific elevated par-4 – is the highest hole in all of British Columbia! – is a drivable risk/reward challenge that comes late in the round. The view from the tee – of the village, the valley, the ski runs, the mountains – definitely requires a selfie, or two.
Rivershore Golf Links
Hole #18, Par 5, 494 yards – The “Rivershore” element of the Robert Trent Jones-designed Rivershore Golf Links is front and centre on the outstanding par-5 18th. With the beautiful South Thompson River running down the entire left side of the hole, right-handers who hook the ball might want to bring a Speedo and some snorkelling gear for golf ball retrievals. But – hook, slice, skull, whiff, or worm-burners aside – this is always a memorable finisher.
If you’re like most golfers, you’re always on the lookout for great moments during the round to take a photo…or twelve. Rest assured, if you’re golfing in Kamloops, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to snag images of jaw-dropping holes. But the ultimate joy occurs when the beverage cart shows up during those precise moments.