St. Albert man urges city council to make temporary disc golf course permanent

·3 min read

If Nick Legault could play disc golf everyday, he would.

He gets his fix throwing his shiny discs at large five-gallon buckets, hanging off trees on the temporary nine-hole course at Langholm Park in St. Albert.

A UDisc app showed the course, set up in June, was popular with players last summer.

"We had over 500 recorded rounds," said Legault, who monitored usage via the app.

"We know that not everyone's recording their rounds so that number's greater, so it worked out to be about three to four rounds per day," said Legault. He says the St. Albert Disc golf Facebook page now sits at over 100 members.

In December Legault made a presentation to St. Albert councillors on the popularity of the sport and the need for a permanent location.

Legault says the mature trees in Langholm Park and the size of the park make it an ideal spot.

"After a successful summer of being able to measure how many people have used the course through the UDisc app, we wanted to present that report back to city council because their request was to help us understand the need, so we hope we demonstrated that," Legault said.

The popularity of the sport is growing in surrounding communities too, with established courses in Beaumont, Spruce Grove, Wetaskiwin, Strathcona County, and several in Edmonton.

'Hole in one'

The course in Edmonton's Rundle Park is busy 365 days a year.

"It doesn't matter if it's warm, cold, rainy, sunny, just it's fresh air and friends, and trying to get a hole in one, " said Michael Elliot who was getting in a round with two friends last week.

The rules are simple. Players throw discs at a target several hundred yards away. There are no fees, golf carts or wait times.

Disc golf uses weighted discs. Some players carry more than 20 in their bags which can be worth as much as $500. Beginners, however, can find discs for as little as $12.

"I actually had never heard about it before," said Kenny Cardinal, who's new to the sport. "The scene at Rundle Park is getting really big. I met these guys here this year and they're kind of showing me the ropes."

The Hills at Charlesworth in southeast Edmonton is one city's newest courses.

'Don't have to pay for fees'

Each hole has a concrete launching area, much like a tee box, with the rolling hills and trees providing an added challenge to golfers.

Min Dhariwal/CBC
Min Dhariwal/CBC

With the pandemic, Eric Hanson was looking for something that wouldn't break AHS protocols.

"This is different. It's just more casual; there's no tee times; there's no booking; I don't have to pay for fees," said Hanson who picked up his first set of discs last summer.

"It allows us to be six feet apart and be with your friends outside safely, so that's good," he said.

Morgan Chase is also a beginner.

"I just started with two discs," he said. "They're like golf clubs, they do different things some turn, some dive so I've just been collecting discs and having fun out here."

Others have taken their passion for the game one step further. Aaron Biblow moved into the neighbourhood two blocks away from The Hills last summer, saying the disc golf course was a huge selling point.

"I figured that it was an outdoor sport I could get into and then just living nearby, I'll just run out on my break and throw a quick round and head home," Biblow said.

Legault has also played at The Hills at Charlesworth course and says Langholm Park, if made permanent, would have a similar feel.

"We're hoping we can get through the public engagement and park assessment over the winter and then hopefully get some baskets in for the summer so that people can come and try it out with a real target.