Here’s a sport that is literally a walk in the park — a shady, forested park within earshot of the Coquihalla River. It takes some skill and practice to be good at it but there’s no admission charge, and no uniform or dress code.
With disc golf, as in regular golf, you have a series of targets and you try to reach those targets in the lowest number of attempts. In disc golf, the target is an elevated metal bowl or ‘basket’, with chains hanging vertically to catch the disc.
“If you just have an old Frisbee, you could start with that,” said disc golfer Sam Masterson, on Monday. “If you can walk on a trail, you can do this. It’s very family-friendly and affordable.
“If you want to get more serious, you can buy a set of discs at Sixth Avenue Sports. On a big course, you’d have up to 15 different discs, with different flight patterns — much like the golf clubs in a golf bag.”
Masterson, a finishing carpenter by trade, moved to Hope three years ago from East Vancouver. He brought along his tools — and his golfing discs.
“I’m part of the Van City United Club and our home course is at Queen Elizabeth Park,” said Masterson. That club connection was important, as you’ll soon see.
With no disc golf park in his new home town, Masterson gave in to a persistent itch, to bring the sport to Hope.
“Last year, I first approached Stephanie Hooker, of AdvantageHOPE and she said it was actually already in the approved plan for the park—between the sports bowl and the bridge on Kawakawa Lake Road.
“She helped me write the grant proposal and we got $10,000 from the District of Hope. Through my contacts, we got 10 used baskets from Queen Elizabeth Park, one for practice and the others for the holes.
“Last summer, Kelly Pearce from Hope Mountain Centre, brought in a trail crew to help.” Hope Secondary students Angus Stromquist and Seth Prawdzik and their crew leader Wesley Liebault, of Chilliwack, cleared the paths and set the tee-pads and bark mulch in place.
“A local paramedic, Pat Dutertre, and I put the baskets in, which were set in concrete donated by Rona,” added Masterson.
One glitch that popped up: the money wasn’t spent quickly enough and the District of Hope clawed back about $8,000, said Masterson.
“I had budgeted for signage and nine more baskets, to make it an 18-hole course,” he said. “The signage was already underway and Stephanie was able to cover the cost out of an AdvantageHOPE project. We plan on doing some fundraisers, maybe even doing a tournament, to help pay for future developments.”
In the meantime, the Hope Disc Golf Club meets at the course on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m., for a pairs tournament akin to a ‘best ball’ tournament in golf.
“We’ve had as many as 20 people show up — and we may see more with the better weather,” Masterson said.
There’s no other cost to play, but players in this event are obliged to put $3 in the pot prior to every game: one dollar goes to the development fund, and the other $2 is split between the winners, said Masterson.
The course is open every day of the week, Masterson added. “There are a lot of people in there using the course when I drive by. Some are up from Chilliwack and some people were from Kelowna. They stopped on their way through Hope to have lunch and play the course.
“It’s a positive thing for the town!”