St. Albert council plans to give disc golf a $20,500 boost this summer that could lead to the construction of a permanent course for it.
St. Albert councillors voted Feb. 16 in favour of a motion from Coun. Jacquie Hansen to install a temporary disc golf course in Langholm Park this year for $5,500. They also agreed to do a $15,000 study to find a spot for a potential permanent course.
Disc golf is a sport where players toss discs into targets or baskets over long distances. Edmonton, Morinville, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County and other communities have permanent disc golf courses; St. Albert does not.
Lacombe Park resident and disc golf enthusiast Nick Legault asked city council to consider a permanent course last December. Last June, with the city’s permission, he set up an impromptu nine-hole course in Langholm Park by hanging orange buckets from trees. Using an app, he determined that people played about 500 rounds on the course last summer, or about three a day.
Speaking to council Feb. 16, Legault said people were continuing to use his course during the winter and it had drawn significant interest from neighbours and some regular golfers.
“Disc golf is inclusive and family friendly,” he said, cheap to play, and open to all ages and skill levels.
Disc golf is one of the fastest-growing sports in the region, with about a thousand players active on five Edmonton-area courses, Tim Plamondon of the Edmonton Disc Golf Association told council. Courses in Edmonton are often packed, and a new one in St. Albert would benefit many.
In an interview, Legault said a formal temporary course in Langholm Park would give residents a more realistic disc golf experience and another outdoor option during the pandemic. A permanent course could create opportunities for schools, fundraisers and tournaments.
This investment into disc golf would give people a chance to try a new sport and get outdoors during the pandemic, Hansen told the Gazette, adding that her children are already big fans of the sport.
“It’s a sport that’s picking up tremendously,” she said, much like pickleball did a few years ago, and could have significant uptake in St. Albert.
“People are having so much fun with it, and from a city perspective, it’s really a low-cost investment for a lot of outdoor fun.”
Council heard from administration that the temporary course in Langholm would feature portable baskets and chalk-line tee boxes. City parks projects manager Manda Wilde told council the course would not require extra parking and shouldn’t interfere with other park uses, although it would have signs telling people not to use it while the park’s ball diamond was occupied.
In an interview, Wilde said the temporary course should be in place by June, although the sport’s popularity has made getting the baskets for it a challenge.
“Disc golf takes a lot of space,” she added, so the city would need to research where it could fit a permanent course – expect public consultation on possible spots this summer.
Legault said he is excited by council’s support for disc golf and hopes to work with the city to plan the layout of the temporary course. He suggested Langholm as the site for a permanent course, should there be support for one, as it had the varied terrain and challenging obstacles (trees) you want for disc golf.
Council was set to receive the results of the disc golf course study by the end of September this year.