I made it up to Kamloops in the Fall of 2022 to do some golfing and sampled 4 golf courses that they have to offer - Tobiano, Big Horn, Talking Rock (technically not in Kamloops but close enough), and Kamloops Golf & Country Club. Each course was beautiful and challenging in their own right but for me, it was easy to pick a favourite: Tobiano.
Big Horn Golf & Country Club
Aptly named, Big Horn Golf & Country Club has a number of big horn sheep roaming around on the course. You play on the side of a mountain so the course has a lot of force carries and long grass that can prove challenging. I found the lay out to be fun and there are a lot of risk v. reward situations. As there isn't many trees that protect the fairways, there can be some errant shots from the opposite hole to look out for.
There was some construction going on around the fairways and greens so there were some holes where the conditions weren't the greatest. Some of the putting greens had some spots without grass or damage that made it challenging to putt through.
Maybe when the construction is complete, I'll go back.
Tobiano Golf Course
Probably one of the best golf courses I've played in the my life. I can see how Tobiano has won the honours of being BC's #1 golf course for a number of years now. There are 5 tee boxes to choose from with an additional 2 combo tee options which makes it fun for all skill levels.
I found this course to be both physically and mentally exhausting. It is so intimidating to walk up the tee box and see a gorge that you have to hit over, or the OB left/right that you hope your ball doesn't shape into, or being buffeted by the strong winds, or seeing a huge uphill incline to get to the green... there's a lot to think about. But when you crest that hill and see the gorgeous backdrop, you quickly forget about it all and just enjoy the view.
The holes were very well laid out with lots of space around you. The fairways and greens were well maintained and rolled very true. If you've never played this course, I urge you to go and expect to score 5-10 strokes more than what you normally shoot.
Talking Rock (in Chase BC)
Talking Rock Golf Course in Chase BC is so beautiful. The lush green grass and tall trees surrounding each hole will take your breath away. We decided to walk the course to enjoy the scenery a bit longer but I found it quite tiring: some of the holes are quite spread apart and there are some where you need to climb up tall hills. When I return, I will not be walking!
I found the layout of the holes very challenging. Even though there wasn't too many holes with out of bounds, it was often difficult to find your ball in the long grass that borders the fairways that you'll still need to take a penalty. It is a good thing that most of the fairways are wide enough for my errant tee shots. It was nice to play a course where you needed to strategize instead of just relying on a long tee shot.
Unfortunately, the Quaaout Lodge suffered a devastating fire in early 2022, so the rooms and some of the facilities are still closed. I hope to stay here one day when it is rebuilt.
Kamloops Golf and Country Club
It was a very rainy the day we played Kamloops Golf which kept a lot of people off the course and it felt like we had the course to ourselves. Luckily, I often play in the rain in the Lower Mainland so it was just like being home! The course plays very similar to courses in the Lower Mainland and after playing Tobiano and Big Horn where there were so many force carries, it was a nice change. There isn't too many elevation changes, or force carries. But there were a lot of trees that can get in the way.
While it is a very fun course, I feel like the reason you go to Kamloops to play golf is to experience courses like Tobiano, or Big Horn. Even though I shot a personal best 77 at this course, I feel that it can be skipped if you're in the area unless you've had enough of losing balls at Tobiano!
I preface this post to say that I have not been paid or given any free items to make this review. Just my own, honest thoughts about this great product.
Many, many years ago, we came across a drink in Japan that we absolutely loved. Not knowing any Japanese, I copied the Kanji (甘酒) and showed it around to all the super markets, convenience stores, and other shops. I then found out that it was pronounced Amazake and it is a fermented drink that I would need to brew. But finding the ingredients for it would prove to be a challenge at home. Fast forward to this year, my memory of this drink was triggered after watching a travel/food show where the host showcased a sake brewery which also make amazake (in Japan).
Internet searches for amazake led me to a local company called Sveet.ca who offers a number of drink choices from ready made fermented oat mylk to make your own smoothie kits. What's even better is they have the amazake that I was looking for (in frozen form - just add water!). I dont make too many smoothies at home so I decided to just order the fermented oat mylks (plain, matcha, strawberry, and coffee) as well as the frozen amazake mix.
All their fermented oat mylks do not have a strong fermented taste to them. In fact, it just tastes like I'm drinking a regular flavoured oat milk. All their fermented oat mylks do not have added refined sugars and the sugars that are there are usually naturally occuring sugars.
My reviews of the specific flavours that I tasted:
- Matcha: I am a bit of a matcha nut and love matcha in anything. So I was a bit worried that this wouldnt be up to my taste. However, the matcha flavour is strong, there is no doubt that you are drinking matcha without it being overly sweet unlike a certain commercial coffee shop's (sbux) offering. There is a bit of grittiness, which I assume is from the matcha powder, but the texture is similar to regular cow's milk maybe a touch thicker but there is no sliminess. 9/10
- Strawberry: Very similar to a Korean strawberry milk. Chunks of strawberries in their original oat mylk and shake shake shake! The grittiness that I mentioned in the matcha flavour is not present. Again, not overly sweet but it is sweeter than the matcha. Most likely from the strawberries. 8/10
- Coffee: This one let me down a little bit but that may be because Im addicted to coffee. When you drink it, you can tell that it is coffee flavoured but it was a bit too subtle for my liking. I think I would be better off getting the original flavour and adding my own coffee to it. 6/10
I havent had a chance to test out the Amazake yet as I didnt want the oat mylks to spoil. But I will update this post when I have to report back!
If you are interested in getting some to try for yourself, head over to Sveet.ca. If you live in Burnaby, Richmond or Vancouver, they offer free delivery on Saturday and Sunday with a minimum purchase of $36. Otherwise, you are able to go to their shop to pick up your orders on Fridays and Saturdays. Don't forget to sign up to their newsletter to get a 10% coupon code on your first order.
If you're looking to upgrade your Nikon's Coolshot 20i GII to the Blue Tees Series 3 Max range finder, this blog might be useful to you. I searched online reviews looking for blogs or videos comparing the 2 models head to head. Unfortunately, because the Nikon is a much older model, I wasnt able to find anything online. I decided to pick up a Blue Tees Series 3 Max but before I make the final decision to switch to it, I decided to test the 2 range finders myself and record my findings. This is my unbiased comparison and review of the 2 units. I have not been paid to make this review and the following information and thoughts are my own.
First off, the 20i GII is a good and solid range finder, I've been using it for nearly 3 years. There is nothing wrong with the functionality of it but I was missing some of the newer features that the newer range finders have. It is very compact and lightweight, so if you are a minimalist golfer who carries your bag, this range finder will not add that much weight. The fact that it is so compact and lightweight is actually the main difficulty I have with it: I have a hard time locking onto the pin as my hands would shake a bit too much. This is a me thing and has nothing to do with the unit itself. I could go for one of the stabilized versions, but the price tag is a bit too steep for me (at $500 CAD for the lite version and $590 CAD for the Pro II version).
When comparing the hand feel of the two units, you immediately see there is a huge difference.
Size & Weight:
While the 20i GII is compact and lightweight, the Series 3 Max is stout. For those with a smaller hand than mine (I wear a medium glove) I can imagine that the Series 3 Max would need both hands to operate. As it is, I am just barely able to operate the Series 3 Max with one hand but using 2 helps steady it even more. The 20i GII on the other hand, can easily be operated using one hand (if you're stable enough, that is).
The 20i GII weights in at around 150 grams and the Series 3 Max at around 230 grams.
For me, Blue Tees wins ever so slightly in this category.
The rubber outer layer of the Series 3 Max gives you a good grip, especially on wet days on the course. Something the 20i GII lacks, whose casing is simply plastic. As mentioned above, the Series 3 Max has a slightly larger body, so it fills my hand just a bit better than the 20i GII. It also has a better ergonomic feel to it with how the bottom indents in for your thumb to fit in. The 20i GII body is square with little to no ergonomic feel to it.
Blue Tees wins "hands" down in this category.
This is a bit of an apples vs oranges comparison and I dont think it would be fair to pick one over the other so I'll simply list what each has.
The 20i GII came out in 2019 and has slope adjustment which you can turn on and off, first target and continuous measurement modes, and can measure targets up to 800 yards. One thing that seems to be missing is the water resistance. The Nikon website does not specifically say whether the unit is water resistant but other websites have listed it as "rainproof". I have had it out in the rain and it still works. But I am likely tempting fate doing this.
The Series 3 Max has a whole lot of extras: slope adjustment, magnetic strip, auto ambient display, pulse vibration, water resistance, advanced flag lock, an easy slope on/off switch, and can measure targets up to 900 yards. But being released in 2021, you kind of expect all these extras to go against the other brands/models.
Real World Measurements:
To me, this is the most important category because who really cares if something looks and feels good when it cant perform properly for the task its made for.
The first test I did was from my front door to the top of the street light across the street. The 20i GII zapped it at 31 yards away, slope adjusted to 38 yards. The Series 3 Max zapped it at 32 yards away, slope adjusted to 38 yards. 1 yard difference unadjusted and the same adjusted distance, I could live with that. So far so good. Next, the on course test.
Zaps from the tee box
Hole # | Yardage on Score Card | Nikon Coolshot 20i GII | Blue Tees Series 3 Max
3 169 Yards 152 Yards 151 Yards
7 193 Yards 197 Yards 200 Yards
13 180 Yards 162 Yards 162 Yards
16 160 Yards 157 Yards 161 Yards
Random approach shot zaps
Coolshot 20i GII | Blue Tees Series 3 Max
120 Yards 118 Yards
195 Yards 199 Yards
122 Yards 123 Yards
230 Yards 233 Yards
I didn't manage to get too many 200+ yard measurements, I wasn't playing my best that day and knew going for the green was out of my reach! Overall, I didn't notice any drastic yardage differences between the 2 units and differences were generally +/- 4 yards - a difference that I can live with.
One thing I did notice was that the "advanced flag lock" technology of the Series 3 Max wasn't all too great. Both units had difficulties actually locking onto the flag and I was still getting measurements for things behind the flag.
Whats in the Box:
Nikon Coolshot 20i GII
CR2 3v Battery x 1
Blue Tees Series 3 Max
Blue Tees Logo Sticker
CR2 3v Battery x 3
The performance differences between the 2 units are negligible. Both units measure distances quickly and accurately (it seems). If I was forced to, I could stick with the Nikon Coolshot 20i GII for a little while longer. The little features it has is enough for me and it gets the job done well.
However, the slightly larger size and weight of the Series 3 Max helps me zap targets better, and the water resistance feature, gives it a slight edge. Having a hard case included and extra batteries is an added bonus! It looks like I'm adding a new range finder to add to the bag!
If you would like to purchase your own Blue Tees Rangefinder and help me earn some commission, please click here and enter coupon code MahaloDistributors for 10% off.
Annual Osoyoos Golf Trip
The annual Osoyoos golf trip happened between May 28 to June 4 this year. We had originally planned to play 8 rounds of golf in 5 days but our last golfing day at Nk'Mip Canyon Desert Golf had to be cancelled as there was a severe thunderstorm forecasted for that day. We were still able to play 7 rounds of golf in 4 days however! Crazy? Most people will say so!
We played Fairview Mountain Golf Club and the Osoyoos Golf Club this year. We'll have to make our way over to Nk'Mip Canyon Desert Golf next time we come up.
Fairview Mountain Golf Club
Our first round of the trip was at Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver BC which is a short 20 minute drive from Osoyoos. It is a very beautiful course wil huge elevation changes. We played from the black tees but in hindsight, I think we should have played from the blues because of the high winds. Being buffeted by 20 km/h winds that gusted to 40 km/h made a challenging course even harder but we still had a blast. The bonus is that I can now say that I've hit my 9 iron a whopping 170 yrds and my driver over 310 yrds!
There are many holes where you tee off from high above the fairway and watch your ball drop, hopefully, to a safe landing zone. The greens are very challenging: they are quite fast and difficult to read. From what I gathered halfway through the round is that the breaks will go away from the mountain regardless of whether it looks like they break toward it.
Fairview Mountain Golf Club has an excellent practice/warm up facility. There is a driving range, hitting net, 2 short game areas with bunkers, and a putting area. Golf balls are all provided and free of charge. Here is a course tour of the club.
Quick Course Summary (Course Summary via Golf Canada)
Gold tees - 7025 yrds - 74.2/139 (Ratings/slope)
Black tees - 6573 yrds - 72.0/134 (Ratings/slope)
Blue tees - 6171 yrds - 70.2/129 (Ratings/slope)
White tees - 5683 yrds - 67.7/122 (Ratings/slope)
Osoyoos Golf Club
The Osoyoos Golf Club is where we spent the majority of our time at, playing 6 of the 7 rounds of golf in 3 days. This golf club has 2 full 18 hole courses: Park Meadows and Desert Gold. They have a daily double where you can play both courses on the same day and with a power cart included for the low low price of $139.
The harder of the 2 courses, in my opinion, is the Desert Course. There are a lot of elevation changes during tee shots and more hazards left and right of the holes. During the summer months, when the fescue has grown more, it becomes even harder to find your ball on errant shots as balls running off the fairway can get swallowed up. Add the threat of rattle snakes in said hazard areas, its just as easy to say "I'll drop here where it's safe". Many of the holes wind up and down the mountain side and there arent too many holes that are beside each other. Distance between holes can be quite far, hence why power carts are mandatory on this side.
Park Meadows is more of the type of golf that we're used to here in the lower mainland. There are more tree lined holes that run parallel to each other, and elevation changes are much less compared to Desert Gold. Errant tee shots arent as punishing since you'll be able to play off the other fairway but there are some blind 2nd shots so plan your misses accordingly!
I believe that Osoyoos Golf Club provides the best value golfing experience in the area. You dont have to play both courses on the same day but if you can, you should. If I only had time to play 1 round of golf, I would choose Desert Gold as it's a completely different type of course that I'm used to playing.
Course Summary - (Course Summary via GolfCanada.ca)
Gold tees - 6500 yrds - 71.6/140 (Rating/Slope)
Black tees - 6039 yrds - 69.4/125 (Rating/Slope)
Silver tees - 5571 yrds - 67.1/123 (Rating/Slope)
Bronze tees (Womens) - 4924 yrds - 68.7/118 (Rating/Slope)
Black tees - 6351 yrds - 70.5/122 (Rating/Slope)
Blue tees - 6200 yrds - 69.8/119 (Rating/Slope)
White tees - 5719 yrds - 67.0/110 (Rating/Slope)
Red tees (Womens) - 5259 yrds - 71.4/122 (Rating/Slope)
Happy New Year & Japan Eats
Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2019.
2018 was a very busy year for me, especially between October and December, I apologize for not updating my blog more often but life happens. In 2019, I hope to dedicate more time to this blog and share more of my experiences with you all.
To start off 2019, I wish to share my most memorable eats from my trip to Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong in October 2018. To start off, I went to Manila to visit family and attend a wedding where my Dad was one of the "Ninong" or godfather. It was one of the most extravagant weddings I have ever attended in my life and will most likely never again experience. If you have watched the movie "Crazy Rich Asians", this wedding was just like it. Scroll through some Instagram pictures of the wedding (#JarvisandKimi) and read this article or this article, you will understand what I mean! Congratulations Jarvis and Kimi! There were over 1,100 guests in attendance at the reception and one would think that the food quality would suffer. But NO the Manila Marriott hotel did a great job serving consistent and yummy food! It's just too bad that a lot of the older FilChi parents in attendance didn't appreciate the western cuisine as much. But their loss!
Very quickly, the courses were: seared scallop, cauliflower soup with crispy mushroom rangoon, Asian seabass fillet with kumara sweet potatoes, coconut lychee sorbet (to cleanse the pallet), and grilled Australian ribeye with tiger prawns and veggies.
After my short trip to Manila, I headed to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka for 8 days with a very good friend of mine. While there, we ate as much local Japanese food as I could get my hands on! It was a very good thing that we walked a lot or I would have gained at least 20 pounds!
It might have been the excitement of the start of vacation but I enjoyed the food in Kyoto the most out of the 3 places. Don't get me wrong, everywhere we ate at was very good, I didn't have one bad meal in Japan but in Kyoto, everything felt like it was made with more care. I don't really know how else to explain it.
Two of the best meals we had while in Kyoto involved ramen! The first ramen shop we came across was by happenstance. We arrived Kyoto pretty late at night, around 9:30pm and after all that travelling, we were famished. Walking from the subway station to the hotel, we passed a ramen shop that was open until 11:30pm so after checking in and dropping our bags off, we headed straight for it. I don't exactly know what the restaurant is called but their website is found here and is located near the cross streets of Shijo Dori and Muromachi Dori. Doing a google maps search, there is a tag for the restaurant but it's simply called "ramen shop".
The second ramen shop we frequented is called Wajoryomen Sugari (website in Japanese) or on TripAdvisor. The restaurant is only open for dinner and seats about 8-10 people only. The first night we came, we got there at around 7pm and the line up to get a seat was about 45 minutes long. The second night we came, we thought we'd be smart and come 20 minutes before they opened. When we got there, there was already about a dozen people waiting! My favourite here is the tsukemen.
And the last place I wish to highlight from Kyoto is an okonomiyaki restaurant called Botejyu Kyoto. Even though it is a larger restaurant, it is a family run place with excellent food. The type of okonomiyaki they serve is is the Osaka style where everything is mixed into a batter and then cooked as opposed to the Hiroshima style which is layered. We ordered a yakisoba wrapped in omelette and a pork okonomiyaki. Both dishes were prepared in front of us and were very very yummy.
If you are in the Kyoto area, I would highly recommend these 3 restaurants. I know there are a lot of restaurants in Kyoto, especially in the Pontocho area. What are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below and the next time I go to Kyoto, I will try and check them out. In my next blog, I will highlight the restaurants I visited in Hiroshima and Osaka. Until then, Mahalo nui loa.
Join me as I celebrate life through travel, food and photography.
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