By Andrew Penner
Most golfers would agree: other than, say, doing shooters on the first tee, pencilling down a “1” on your scorecard is the quickest way to put a smile on your face on the golf course. However, sadly, the majority of golfers won’t ever experience the thrill of making an ace. (Lucky you if you’ve got one…or more!) However, making a “2” is a semi-close second. Yes, the delectable deuce always delivers delight!
You’ve probably seen the pictures, the postcards, the posts. The spectacular courses in the Kamloops region are famous for their incredible par-3s. And, unless you’ve got the firepower to drive par-4s, your deuces (and, yes, were aiming for this to happen multiple times during your Kamloops golf getaway) are most likely going to happen on the “short” holes.
Of course, don’t kid yourself, short holes aren’t necessarily easy. We all know this. Golf course architects – you know, those twisted and tormented souls that love to conjure evil powers and place hell-forged hazards in our paths – are famous for going that extra mile when it comes to making par-3 holes difficult.
But, nonetheless, the math is there. The opportunity is there. Basically everyone can make a two on a par-3 hole. The deuce-pot prize is there for the taking. (Even if that prize is just a high-five or a slap on the back from your pal, hey, that’s something!)
So where, in Kamloops, do we want to achieve this lofty goal? Where will this deuce be the most satisfying? Well, I’d say the toughest, most memorable par-3 holes in the area would be a good start. And these would be my choices. (In no particular order.)
Tobiano, Andrew Penner
Tobiano Golf, 7th hole, 183 yards
Tobiano’s quintet of par-3s pack a punch. And the 7th, I’d say, is the most scenic and savage of the bunch. The green, basically an island roughly the size of an NFL endzone, rises from the ravine and is a thin, must-hit target. A poorly-struck shot spells instant doom. But hit it close and tap in for two and you’ll be tickled pink.
The Dunes at Kamloops, 6th hole, 156 yards
The two par-3s on the front nine at The Dunes – a Graham Cooke-designed course that sits tight along the South Thompson River – are two of the best in the region. My favourite is the 6th (pictured at the top). The beautiful bunkers and shaping around the raised green make this an eye-candy hole. But it’s also tough, requiring a high, soft-landing mid-iron. Not an easy shot for a guy who hits low smother hooks, I might add!
Talking Rock, Andrew Penner
Talking Rock Golf Course, 8th hole, 202 yards
Sure, the 15th hole at Talking Rock is the poster child for golf in the Kamloops region. That hole is an absolute stunner. You see photos of it, well, everywhere. But the pondside 8th, with its artistic swarm of bunkers to the left and trees to the right, is a much tougher shot. If you make two here you’ll feel like you’ve just won the Powerball lottery.
Rivershore Golf Links, 17th, 198 yards
Just like the fine Cabernet Franc at nearby Harper’s Trail Winery, the finishing run at Rivershore is pretty pleasing on the palette. And the 17th hole, a tough par-3 with a slightly raised green positioned along the river, is a tasty little treat. Severe slopes and deep bunkering make birdie a difficult proposition. Choose your weapon wisely.
Bighorn Golf & Country Club, 11th hole, 296 yards (par 4)
If you’ve got the courage – and the talent! – to blast a 300-yarder through a narrow chute, then this hole at Bighorn is your opportunity to go-for-broke and, fingers crossed, make an eagle two. However, calibrate wrong and, if you choose to go ball hunting, you’ll be picking thistle and sage out of your orifices for a week. This hole, one of my personal favourites, is one of the best expressions of desert golf in the Kamloops region.
Bighorn, Andrew Penner
Obviously, there are many more challenging holes in the Kamloops “collective” where recording a two is going to send you to the moon. Yes, “the deuce” will never get old. Just like Jäger Bombs and Alabama Slammers on the first tee, they’re fuel to keep us coming back for more.