Disc golfers in St. Albert could have a new place to play should a project to establish a permanent course move forward.
Nick Legault with St. Albert Disc Golf, a Facebook group of local players, presented to city council on Dec. 21 on the growing popularity of the sport, asking the city to consider moving forward with a permanent course.
In June, a temporary disc golf course was set up in Langholm Park using suspended buckets for targets. Using an app to track, players recorded 499 rounds of disc golf within four months, or three to four rounds per day. Meanwhile, the St. Albert Disc Golf Facebook group has nearly tripled its membership from 32 to 92 people.
The temporary course has a 3.9 out of five rating on the UDisc app, even though it's only made up of hanging buckets from trees at the moment.
"That was a big surprise in terms of the engagement we saw from the community and from players," Legault said.
Disc golf is like traditional golf, but instead of using clubs and golfballs, the sport is played using special discs to hit baskets. It's free to play most courses, and the equipment itself can be affordable too – starter sets usually cost around $35, with single discs priced at $12.
"It's easy to learn, but difficult to master, just like regular golf," Legault said. "The nice thing is it's all year fitness and recreation for all fitness levels ... it's something most people can pick up, from children all the way to seniors."
Other regional municipalities, including Morinville, Spruce Grove, Strathcona County and Edmonton, have their own disc golf courses.
During the presentation, Legault asked council to direct staff to move forward on a park assessment for Langholm Park for disc golf, and begin public engagement on a permanent course. Generally, a course costs about $1,000 per hole, including the baskets and tee pads, he said. The group is also planning to work with other organizations to pursue grant funding and garner community support to fund the project.
Manda Wilde, senior project manager with the parks department, said recreation staff have been working with Legault with the temporary course. Administration believes it's a "great idea," she said, though there are some concerns. Wilde said Langholm Park could have enough room to house a permanent course, but staff would need to find the capacity to do all the investigative and public engagement work to see if it's possible.
"It is a good use of the space, but it could cause conflict when there's higher use (of other amenities in Langholm)," Wilde said.
In an interview, Coun. Jacquie Hansen said she was excited about the idea of bringing the sport to St. Albert.
"I would like to see a disc golf course, I think it'd be a super fun thing to have at one of our many, many parks. I don't think it's a big stretch, I think we can do it and enjoy some spontaneous outdoor activity," she said.