By Andrew Penner
Besides trying to torture golfers to the best of their ability, the most notable golf course architects in history all have one characteristic in common: they try to provide a thrilling conclusion to the round. Yes, ask any golfer, there is nothing better than playing a course that builds to an amazing, knee-shaking, mind-blowing, match-altering finish. And if you’re familiar with the great golf courses in Kamloops, well, you know what great finishing runs are all about!
Obviously, in terms of the actual outcome, the desired conclusion to every round would play out something like this: smash a high, laser-straight two-iron to two feet, tap the ball into the cup for birdie, run around the green ferociously fist-pumping and giving your opponents soul-crushing stare-downs. Unfortunately, given the fact that most finishing holes (the finishing “run” is typically considered the last three or four holes) are designed by extremely evil architects who want you to make octuple bogey, it may not always play out this way.
But, regardless of whether or not that final two-iron turns out to be a clenched-teeth chunk into the middle of the lake, rest assured, you will certainly enjoy the “grand finale” on these awesome Kamloops courses.
Talking Rock Golf Course
Hole #17, Talking Rock Golf Course. Photo by Mary Putnam
Located on a beautiful swath of rolling lakeside land owned by the Little Shuswap Lake Band, Talking Rock is an amazing “in nature” golf experience. And the course definitely builds to one of the best finishing stretches in not just Kamloops, but all of British Columbia!
Starting with the 15th – a drop-dead gorgeous par-3 that plunges toward the lake – the finishing run at Talking Rock is pretty epic. A downhill and reachable par-5, a go-for-broke par-4, and, finally, a straight-away par-4 that parades along the shoreline. But the question is…will that ol’ rusty two-iron get ‘er done?
Hole #14, Tobiano. Photo by Mary Putnam
Unless you’ve been looking for your ball under a rock for the past thirteen years, you’ve probably noticed that Tobiano is one of the most visually-stunning courses in Canada. Not surprisingly, the closing run is phenomenal!
In Tobiano’s case, the riveting run to the finish starts in earnest at the 14th, a gorgeous par-4 that shoots to the lake and features an “infinity” green hanging high above the water. From there, you’ve got two sweet little par-3s, a reachable par-5 that plunges down the hill, and, finally, a tough-as-nails par-4 that can make a peace-loving adult snap their two-iron over their knee…Or just marvel at how great this finish truly is!
Rivershore Golf Links
Green #18, Rivershore Golf Links. Photo by Mary Putnam
Designed by the prolific architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. in the early 1980s, Rivershore Golf Links is a Kamloops classic that seamlessly blends links and parkland golf. And, fittingly, the gorgeous “rivershore” aspect of this golf experience occurs on the final run!
The last three holes – which include an over-the-pond par-4, a robust riverside par-3, and the awesome par-5 finisher that careens along the mighty North Thompson River – can easily wreck your round. However, at just 494-yards from the white tee markers, the closer is a reachable par-5 that has certainly been the stage for the odd birdie dance!
Indeed, it’s the ending – the homestretch! – that always seems to leave the lasting impression. And in Kamloops you will find many finales that are truly “grand.” My final tip: Bring a well-behaved two-iron.