Calgary Herald Article – May 16, 1999

Calgarians spin their way to the pin with disc golf Adherents have grown from 150 in ’91 to 1,500
Andrew Squires – Special to the Herald

It’s been a rough day at the office. Or you haven’t worked at all, and you’re peeling yourself off of the couch like a big fruit roll-up. Your looking for a way to unwind. Something to soothe your restless soul and ease a tired mind. The possibilities are endless: we live in a recreational mecca, only hours from the mountains that house the most amazing skiing, mountain biking and hiking in the world. With all of these options what do you choose to do at the end of a long day? Are you tired or bored of the tried and true? There’s a sport creeping it’s way into the Calgary scene, finding more disciples every year. It’s disc golf, and in the past 10 years the number of players in this city has jumped to more than 1,500 from about 50 in 1991. Disc golf is played with a small disc of thick rubbery plastic that looks like a hybrid of a Frisbee and a track-and field discus. As in regular golf, the object of the game is to travel down the fairway toward a cup or pin. The low scorer wins. Most holes are par 3 and the ideal “hole” is a drive, approach and “putt.” Of course, there are hazards, including waters and trees. Craig Burrows-Johnson, a long-time player and member of the Professional Disc Golf Association, said the growing popularity of disc golf can be attributed to several factors, including “the lack of dress code, the absence of oppressive rules and lack of a rigid structure. Unlike golf, which Mark Twain described as a pleasant walk destroyed by a little white ball, disc golf is intended to be casual, friendly and fun. “It’s the combination of these elements that makes the sport attractive to an eclectic mix of people as a non-traditional sport,” Burrows-Johnson said. World-wide, the sport has existed for decades. The Internet has thousands of sites devoted to wild array of disc sports including ultimate Frisbee and a bizarre game called guts – including information on courses around the world. One of the most developed and well used courses in Calgary is near the banks of the Bow at Pearce Estate Park. It’s used by about 500 players a week. The Alberta Disc Sport Association has gone to great lengths to ensure the sport continues to grow and thrive within the city in an environmentally responsible manner. Burrows-Johnson said “the organisation has been a long-time member of the adopt-a-park program” and the ADSA received the second-highest number of volunteer hours for a non-profit organisation in Calgary over the last four years. ADSA regularly organises litter clean-ups, and through the shear numbers of people using Pearce Estates park for disc golf, acts of vandalism have declined, Burrows-Johnson said. “there is no question that the popularity of disc golf is on the climb.” It’s a game that attracts broad age groups. It’s popular with families, and the sport has recently been selected as a sport for the Alberta Seniors Games to take place July 12. (in Olds, Alberta). Disc golf embedded its claws in the Calgary sport landscape and tenaciously held on. Through its lack of structure and overall accessibility, disc golf is a welcome and affordable pastime for all types of people as a fantastic way to relax at the end of a long day. Unlike Twain’s vision, disc golf is a nice walk enhanced by a piece of flying rubber. Discs are available at Lifesport and Bow Cycle Sports. There you’ll find the ADSA monthly newsletter Huck. The ADSA Web site: http://www.adsa.ab.ca.

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