The Dunes at Kamloops: Best New Course in Canada
by Scott A. Sumner
Golf Digest magazine ranked the Dunes at Kamloops the best new course in Canada in 1997 an it was easy to see why. The course is in its eighth year and owned by local resident Dave Coombs and the Mackenzie family of Calgary. It is designed by Graham Cook. It is semi private with about 165 members and the rest of the time it is public play. After an initial thunder storm delay of an hour we were able to play 18 holes at this very well conditioned course. Lush fairways carve through the sand that was at one time a riverbed of the North Thompson giving way to dunes that transform into vast waste areas and challenging bunkers. The initial license fee to join is $6000, redeemable after 20 years. The dues are $1450 per person plus taxes as well as the association fees. The greens rate is $62 , with a resident rate or zone 2 rate of $56.
"We get 30,000 rounds per year and opened March 2nd. The end of October to early November is when we usually close. We like to put the course away and make sure it is in top shape for next season," states Mike Porco, Head Golf Professional at the Dunes in Kamloops. "Snow comes at the end of November. I like the golf course. It is a great track and is in perfect condition. We have four sets of tees that range from 5500 to 7200 yards. It is a links style with lots of rolling hills. As you can see you don't notice many people because of the mounds on the sides of the fairways. You are kinda on your own which is nice. The front nine warms up the back nine which has a little more character so you finish on a really good feeling."
Porco is a scratch player and breaks par on a good day. He competes in an interior tour of golf professionals.that has 13 events. "We do have a web site www.golfthedunes.com and you can request times on there. We don't have on line booking yet," states Porco. "It is a destination area and we like to give the travellers the opportunity to play."
There are about 50 on the greens staff at the Dunes at Kamloops. The greens are good - bent grass. "We had the worst winter we ever have had so we experienced winter kill for the first time here," notes Porco. "It was a different experience for everyone, with lots of snow and no frost last fall. It has been a rough spring. We did resod number one green and over verticut and overseeded several others."
The Dunes at Kamloops was a very fun course to play in superb shape, after their rough winter. When in the Thompson Okanagan areas it is a must to play! You'll see what Golf Digest must have seen to rank this course so highly.