Talking Rock GC To Host BCG Men's Mid-Am & Mid-Masters Championships

Talking Rock's Par 3 15th Hole - courtesy Talking Rock GC


by Bryan Outram, Inside Golf


British Columbia Golf opens their 2015 Championship schedule on June 2nd with the Men’s Mid-Amateur and Mid-Master events taking place at the Talking Rock Course at Quaaout Lodge in Chase, B.C.

While the name “Talking Rock” recognizes ancestors who recorded historic events by painting or carving on large rocks, these days the talking is being done by golfers who are giving the course consistently positive reviews.

Located along the shores of Little Shuswap Lake midway between Salmon Arm and Kamloops in B.C.’s interior, Talking Rock Golf Course opened in August of 2007 and meanders through a mature sandy forest finishing with a breathtaking 18th hole along the shorelines of Little Shuswap Lake.

Owned and operated by the Little Shuswap Indian First Nations Band, Talking Rock was designed by Cooke Carleton International. Design architects Wayne Carleton and Graham Cooke, who have worked with First Nations in the past, including the award-wining Dakota Dunes in Saskatchewan, were very impressed with the land they had to work with for Talking Rock.

“It’s a dynamic property with some very interesting holes and great views across Little Shuswap Lake,” said Cooke.

“Golfers will notice a nice transition from the front nine to the back, from lower lands to the higher, powerful properties on the back nine. There are a lot of pine trees on the property as well. It’s a very sandy-based property as well and that enabled us to produce some rugged bunkers. We had to maintain a very formal relationship with the trees. We think we came up with an attractive look and we like the routing plan.”

The 7,248-yard layout does offer a unique experience as the only hole you can see is the one you’re playing. It can be a long golf course, but players can still take out the big stick due to the wide fairways.

With multiple tee boxes (four) available Talking Rock is an ideal course for new players looking to experience a longer course with their seasoned playing partners and should prove to be an outstanding test for the competitors teeing it up in the Men’s Mid-Amateur and Mid-Master Championships.

Talking Rock Head Professional Adam Blair had some interesting input with regard to how this layout will fare as host of this particular British Columbia Golf Championship event.

Q: Has Talking Rock hosted other championships of this nature before? 

Adam Blair: Talking Rock hosted the 2009 PNGA Men’s Masters Amateur, 2012 PGA Of BC Pro Assistant Championship and several Interior PGA Events. The Mid-Amateur will be our largest and most prestigious event to date.

Q: What do you see as the golf course's best defence, be it length, strategic hazards, overall design, prevailing conditions or how the course can be set up? 

AB: The strategic bunkering on our property seems to challenge players the most. Players will need to make sure that they are judging distances well and hitting key targets as the numerous bunkers are waiting to swallow them up. The course can set up as long as 7,100 yards so length can be a factor, especially on the Par 3’s which play very long.

Q: Which particular holes do you see as the ones that will provide the most challenge to the players?

AB: Holes 4 and 5 are the most difficult holes on our front 9. Both are par 4’s that will play over 450 yards so players need to angle tee shots well to get the most yardage they can muster for a mid-iron into very difficult greens.

Q: Is there a specific stretch of holes that could prove crucial, i.e. an 'Amen Corner' as it were?

AB: I think that holes 7 thru 10 is the stretch that players can really make some birdies on to recover from a tough stretch on 4 thru 6 and before entering another difficult stretch on 13-15. Holes 7 and 10 are both reachable par 5’s with very little risk if going for the green in 2. It’s the tee shot that is crucial on these holes. The 8th hole is a long par 3 but an accurate tee shot should result in a routine par. The 9th hole is a short par 4 with a pond down the entire left side. Although the water will play with your mind, a nice high iron in the fairway will give a fairly routine iron shot into the green.

Q: What do you think will be the keys to a player coming out on top? Do you need to drive the ball long or more accurately? Is iron play more critical or are the greens themselves the main factor? It may be a little of all of these but if there is one specific aspect that really will prove beneficial to players what would that be?

AB: I believe that the winner will be the person that putts the best. The greens can be very tricky to read but once a player figures out the topography and how they break, they’ll enjoy watching lots of putts fall.

Q: Is it a course you can attack, or is one better off to play conservatively and wait for opportunities to arise?

AB: The course offers up a perfect blend of attack holes and holes that you must hold back on. There is a lot of opportunity to take some high-risk chances and enjoy a nice reward or significant damage. It will be interesting to see which strategy prevails, as both can be successful options.

Q: Is there another layout you might compare Talking Rock with for those who are not familiar with the course?

AB: Talking Rock is quite unique in its design. Comparisons could be made to Gallagher’s Canyon (in Kelowna).

Q: Does the course favour any particular shot shape? Draw, fade, high, low, etc.?

AB: A high draw will be the shot of choice all day.