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Kingswood Disc Golf

May, 2024

Disc golf sets new heights at Kingswood Park.

The City of St. Albert has put an entirely different spin on park recreation. It’s a whirl in the form of a permanent disc golf course at Kingswood Park that will run throughout the entire summer for the first time. 

Locals only had a few months to try out the facility, which opened last summer at the park, located near Riverlot 56 in the eastern part of the city. Stats on its usage are murky at best, although a third-party app called UDisc reported that visitors played roughly 2,100 rounds on the course during the four months it was open. Still, Craig Cameron, the city’s Manager of Parks and Community Partnership, was encouraged by the numbers.

“This was our first season of use, and we look forward to continuing to track usage,” he said about last year’s traffic on the course, slated to operate this year from May until October. “Even with a shortened play season, we were pleased with the amount of usage.”

A full six-month season will provide plenty of opportunity for patrons to try their hand at disc golf, one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. It’s played very much like the more conventional version of golf, but without clubs and dimpled balls. Instead, players use flying discs, more commonly known as frisbees on nine- or 18-hole courses. But instead of holes, the sport uses baskets as targets on each fairway. 

It’s also far more user-friendly than traditional golf in that participants don’t need to invest in relatively more items like clubs, balls, bags and tees. And unlike most golf courses, the Kingswood Park facility doesn’t charge admission fees or impose tee-time bookings. Folks can show up anytime during the day with anything from a disc from a dollar store to a more professional version from a sporting goods retailer.

“Disc golf is for everyone!” noted Cameron enthusiastically. “We see players of all ages and abilities using the course, including family groups, school groups, and community groups. Kingswood Park disc golf course is a recreational course that will allow people to discover the sport and hopefully grow interest in the community.”

The city is relying on more than just hope to attract more users. In 2020, a temporary facility was already in use in Langholm Park, when the city embarked on a feasibility study to determine the need for something more permanent. An eight-page report presented at City Council in September, 2021 revealed that 83 percent of respondents favoured a disc golf park, with Kingswood cited as its most preferred location. Using respondent feedback and guidelines set by the Professional Disc Golf Association, the city went ahead with a $147,900 project to landscape the park into a course that opened in July, 2023. The result is a playing surface with natural features like hills and trees to make it more interesting for players, although Cameron added that the park isn’t strictly for disc golf.

“The course is also designed to balance shared use between existing and new park users, including the consideration of grooming cross-country ski trails in the winter,” he said.

Looking forward to increased usage of Kingswood, Cameron noted he’s impressed with the comments about the facility’s amenities and the thought that went into the course’s construction.

“With Kingswood Park being the first permanent disc golf course in St. Albert, players are happy for the experience,” he said. 

“We have also had positive feedback on the tee pads and basket features. The tee pads are artificial turf which provide a strong, consistent, and safe area to throw discs from in different conditions. The disc golf baskets are PDGA approved and mounted seasonally in the park. People also like that the park has a pavilion that offers shelter and a public washroom.”t8n

Disc Golf Fun Facts

Disc golf goes as far back as the ’60s, when students scattered throughout the U.S. played early, more ramshackle versions of the game, using everything from trees to garbage cans as targets. 

Ed Headrick is credited with creating the more official version of the game, after redesigning the original frisbee for toy manufacturer Wham-O during the ’70s. After leaving the company, he formed his first company, the Disc Golf Association, which made more durable discs and formalized disc golf into the version currently enjoyed worldwide.

Folks in more than 40 countries world wide play disc golf, which spiked in popularity during two years of COVID-19 lockdowns that started in 2020.

Canada ranks third in terms of number of golf courses available within its borders, trailing the U.S. and Finland.

The Canadian Disc Golf Association is the sport’s governing body in this country, and sanctions tournaments like its flagship national championship to be held this September in Clearwater B.C.

With Kingswood Park being the first permanent disc golf course in St. Albert, players are happy for the experience. Disc golf is for everyone! We see players of all ages and abilities using the course, including family groups, school groups, and community groups.

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