Disc golfers prepare for national championships on P.E.I.

Athletes from five countries will be on P.E.I. this weekend, competing in the Canadian National Disc Golf Championships. 

Disc golf is often described as a combination of Frisbee and golf. 

"The way I say it is the same tactic as golf except instead of swinging a club you are throwing a disc and aiming at a larger target. But it is the same strategy and mental game as golf," said player Casey White, from Shirley, Mass. 

Like golf, there are 18 holes, tees, pars, and birdies.

Biggest tournament in Canada

With 273 players, the tournament sets a new record for the number of registrants at a sanctioned Professional Disc Golf Association event in Canada.

"This is like the Mecca of disc golf right now in Canada for sure and arguably in North America," said tournament director Benjamin Smith. 

John Robertson/CBC

Just under half of the participants are professionals, and the rest are amateurs. The players will compete at Hillcrest Farms and at the newly built Huck It disc golf course constructed this year in Middleton.

"I feel totally confident with the professionals and the amateurs that are coming here from all over North America that they will see this course and be blown away," Smith said. 

Bringing more attention to the sport

Smith says he hopes the tournament will bring more attention to the sport of disc golf in the Maritimes.  

Some players say they themselves first found out about the sport by accident. 

"My dog found a disc in the Nicholas Sheran park where my home course is. I found a disc in the trees and I went and tried it and I was hooked from there pretty much," said 15-year-old Noah Higgins, from Lethbridge, Alta. 

John Robertson/CBC

After five years of playing, Higgins is now competing for cash prizes. And he took a week off school to come to the competition in P.E.I., where he will be the youngest player in his division.

For some of the top disc golfers, the event is also a last chance to win a spot in a major American tournament. 

The tournament is free for spectators, and runs Friday to Sunday. 

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