The baskets are in the ground at Cranbrook’s newest disc golf course, a family and beginner friendly, nine-hole course located in Idlewild Park.
WATCH: Disc golf course under construction
Designed by Casey Hanemayer, Steve Reedyk and Ben Loggains and built with the support of dedicated local disc golfers and the City, this course is Cranbrook’s third — including the Wycliffe course — and is intended to be shorter and less challenging than the courses at the College and Wycliffe.
You could look at it as Idlewild is beginner, Cranbrook course is intermediate and Wycliffe is advanced.
Any regular reader may have noticed an increase in the prevalence of the words “disc golf” appearing amongst these pages over the past two years. And it’s true that when, in my first month at the Townsman in June, 2017, my editor asked me if I knew anything of the sport and would like to write a story on it, I was thrilled.
I’ve been playing for a couple of years, very casually. I started a summer or two before leaving Calgary, and purchased, as most new players do, a driver and a putter. A few friends and I would go to Bakers Park in Calgary and play around of ‘frolf’ on the nice, old 18-year-old course there, usually a few brews in tow.
Since moving here to start my career in reporting, I’ve been excited to see the sport growing the way it is, and I admittedly jump on every opportunity I can to share a story about various events or accomplishments of the sport and its players here in the East Kootenay. I’ve also found myself getting way more into it, buying more discs and even a basket for my backyard, and referring to it as disc golf only, never frolf (frisbee golf).
For those reading this who don’t have a clear picture in their mind of what exactly it is, or for those who may have written it off as a hippy-dippy stoner pastime and nothing more, disc golf is very similar to ball golf in a number of ways.
First of all, the structure of the game is the same: you start at a tee pad and try to get the object to the target in as few as possible shots. The majority of disc golf holes are par threes, with Cranbrook and Wycliffe each having a handful of par fours. While in ball golf an average par three is around 300 yards give or take, a disc golf par three will be around 300 feet. Instead of putting the ball in the hole, you put your disc in a metallic basket fitted with chains that catch the disc out of the air.
In disc golf there are different discs for different shots — putters, mid range, fairway drivers and distance drivers. Discs are rated with four numbers indicating speed, glide, turn and fade. Distance drivers have the highest speed and are not recommended for beginners, as they take precise technique and a ton of power to hit their proper flight pattern.
A mid range or fairway driver and a putter is a good place to start, or even just a putter until your form is dialled in. Once you get hooked on the sport, the discs themselves become extremely addicting — each has its own specific look and personality, made by many manufacturers across the world, and collections balloon rapidly. Disc technology has certainly come a long way since the Wham-O’s 1957 Pluto Platter.
I think that one of the biggest similarities is that, like in ball golf, the game is really tough to begin with and can be frustrating to learn at times, especially when you’re playing with people who know what they’re doing. However throwing even one good shot will keep you coming back. Plus, a big difference between ball and disc golf is that disc golf courses are free to play.
I am fully addicted to this game and so was absolutely delighted to hear that Cranbrook was getting another course, and it was pretty cool to go see a disc golf course get built for the first time, help out a little bit and even get to play the first-ever round on it.
The course may be short, but it is extremely well designed, giving players a chance to practise a variety of shots. Loggains helped build and design the Wycliffe course and Hanemayer has disc golf in his blood, with his dad helping build the Cranbrook course — so they knew what they were doing. The Idlewild course is actually using the old baskets from the Cranbrook course. It’s also worth noting here that Hanemayer has won the last three tournaments he’s participated in, I think it’s safe to say he’s well on his way to being one of the top players in the country.
Loggains had this to say with regards to getting disc golf courses built:
“While sometimes it’s a single passionate individual who is able to get a lot done it’s really been a cooperative effort with each person bringing their own skills to the table. Be that a patience for the paperwork and sitting in meetings and local politics, or some folks have skills with welding or chainsaws, or who are just willing to pick up a rake and shovel. A good club allows people to do the thing they have the passion and ability to do.”
If you’ve ever been curious about the sport, beginners can pick up discs here in Cranbrook at stores like Gerick Sports or Funhogz, or online at websites like www.acerunners.com. Head to the Cranbrook Disc Golf Facebook page for info on tournaments and doubles games. The disc golf sub Reddit is a great resource for beginners as well.
The other thing is that almost without exception, a few bad seeds aside, the vast majority of people you’ll meet on a disc golf course are going to be extremely friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There is a great community for the sport here in Cranbrook, and having such a beginner and family friendly new course is a wonderful way to encourage even more people to try the sport out for the first time.
Tee pads still need to go in, but the course is ready to play. Get out there and throw!