Canada's Latest and Greatest? Tobiano vs. Sagebrush


Tobiano, near Kamloops, is getting the buzz as the best new course to appear on the Canadian landscape since, well, probably Humber Valley or Eagles Nest. Done by Tom McBroom, the site surely is remarkable.

I have yet to see it in person — but the photos make it appear a touch narrower than other work by McBroom, and I’m hearing the fescue was unreal near the opening. But that’s not particularly unusual for a new course, which has to heavily water its fairways in order to get them to grow in. The water catches the wind and heads into the fescue, thickening it as well. It happened at Coppinwood when it first opened, but it was very playable when I was there this year.

Anyway, below are some shots — I’ll get out to Tobiano next year and can then report back on its playability.

The other course gaining some buzz is Richard Zokol’s Sagebrush, built in BC and modeled after Redtail GC near St. Thomas. That means super exclusive, with less than 100 members. The course was designed by Rod Whitman, who did the fantastic Blackhawk GC outside of Edmonton and who has worked with Pete Dye and Bill Coore. Expectations of this one are high as well. I wrote about it last year — you can find the story here.

First Tobiano:

14th hole (below)


Tobiano’s opener:



Zokol on the tee


The second at Sagebrush


The sixth at Sagebrush


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Rob,

    For the record, details of the photos from Sagebrush are: 1) Zokol on the tee at the par-4 fifth hole; 2) that’s not really the second hole, it’s a photo of the third tees (hydro-mulched) taken from the second fairway; and, 3) yep, that’s the par-3 sixth hole.

  • Tobiano is a complete and utter disaster. She aint pretty she just looks that way. McBroom did an average job, at best, with a good site. I look forward to playing Zokol’s new course.

  • vangolfer,

    can you expand on WHY its a complete disaster? i’m not challenging, just curious because the reviews i’ve heard from those in the know are actually pretty good.

    also heard that the site was very challenging (much like sagebrush), rather than “good”… the views of course are good at least…

    just looking for more info.. thanks.

  • Admittedly RPF, I’m hearing some of the same things about Tobiano — that it is too hard, with too many forced carries. I guess we’ll see. I’ll be heading out there for a story next spring.

  • While Tobiano and Sagebrush are in the same region, and both are on fantastic properties with stunning lake views, I don’t think they are directly comparable. Whereas McBroom has given Tobiano a conventional design to ‘fit’ into a large real estate development, Zokol and Whitman have designed Sagebrush in a minimalist links-style (their term) with little disturbance to the surrounding landscape. In effect, Tobiano has been cut out of the landscape whereas Sagebrush has been overlaid upon it. I hope to get a chance to play Sagebrush; it sounds intriguing.

  • rpf,

    Tobiano is on a pretty piece of property. I am certain that the owners are happy with how the course turned out and its ability to sell realestate. However, the course lacks any true redeeming qualities that a real golfer would appreciate. It is certain that any 10-18 handicap player will lose several balls, play poorly, and thus have an unpleasant experience. The service from the golf shop, conditioning etc. will be acceptable but it will not make up for the course. I do think that several people will try to play the course, once, but they will not return. A comparable course would be Bear Mountain in the Victoria area.

  • Tobiano is the best test of golf I have played. If you want an enjoyable, relaxed, spray the ball off the tee round, don’t go to Tobiano. If you want a course that makes you think on every shot, while trying not to be distracted by the stunning views, then Tobiano will not disappoint. I have played many high end championship courses around the world and Tobiano ranks near the top. It is an amazing test of golf. For $80 including cart, range and water it is a great value. I’ve shelled out well over $200 for courses that don’t have 1 hole comparable to Tobiano. It’s a must play for SERIOUS golfers.

  • vangolfer sounds like you are the typical mid -high handicapper that plays pro v and gets upset because you lose over $30 worth of balls in a round. Most link style courses with fescue ala Osprey Valley Healthlands you would be lucky to find a ball if you cannot hit a fairway regularly. People make the pillgrimmage to Tobiano for a golfing experience as do the many golfers who make the journey to Bandon Dunes. I have spoken to many 30 handicappers who reveled in the experience at Tobiano. Sounds like you should stay in Vancouver and play courses like Northview, I am sure the overpriced atypical course is more your speed.

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