Link to Article – Calgary’s longest disc golf course set to open Saturday

June 5, 2018 – Calgary Herald

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The city’s newest park is set to open this weekend, offering Calgarians a chance to try a family-friendly sport while paying tribute to a late member of the city’s auto industry.

The David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park will officially open to the public Saturday at noon, after two years of development.

The 11-hectare park in Royal Oak in the city’s northwest is the longest disc golf park in Calgary and will be used as a professional tournament venue. But access for the general public will be free, offering disc golf enthusiasts a new venue to play at and also give those new to the sport a chance to learn the ins and outs.

Disc golf is played much like traditional golf but, instead of a ball and clubs, competitors use flying discs, such as Frisbees. They throw their golf disc from a tee area to a target that serves as the hole, trying to avoid bushes, trees and other terrain changes that pose obstacles.

“It’s a very exciting new park. Disc golf is a free sport that is accessible for everyone, young and old, all ages and abilities, and really doesn’t require any special equipment other than a disc,” said Sheila Taylor, CEO of Parks Foundation Calgary.

“It’s a newer sport that is really increasing in popularity in Calgary and elsewhere. There are those that are really passionate about disc golf and play it on a regular basis, but it’s also becoming more popular with seniors and families that are looking for a way to be active and in a low-cost manner.”

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The name of the park pays tribute to late Calgarian David Richardson, a respected member of Calgary’s auto community and an avid disc golfer, who died in 2015 at the age of 42 while swimming.

His wife, Treasure Richardson, said the idea for the park came about shortly after his death. The land hadn’t yet been allocated, and the city and province agreed to donate it to create the course in her husband’s memory.

“He used to play probably four or five times a week,” Treasure Richardson said. “He was probably playing for four years. He had lots of friends that were playing it, he just basically enjoyed it. We used to take the dog out and it was a way to get outside and decompress, so he got really good at it, too.”

She said the family was honoured by the gesture.

“I can’t tell you how many people are going to visit the park and it’s certainly a huge tribute to him,” she said. “He was an incredible husband and father. He always had fun in anything he did. He was quite quirky. Essentially, he made sure that he elevated everybody around him and made them the best versions of themselves that they could be. He inspired a lot of people. To put a park in his legacy, he’s the right guy.”

The bulk of the project was funded privately through fundraising by the Richardson family, their friends and David’s former colleagues, according to Taylor. She said they not only wanted to remember David, but also help the community “by providing a beautiful park.”

The course is a par-66, 18-hole layout ranging from more than 2,400 metres in length for experts, to 1,500 metres for beginners and families.

“It’s almost 30 acres on a beautiful piece of land that has wetlands and lush vegetation with mountain views,” Taylor said. “In addition to being a great disc golf course, it’s just a beautiful park in itself.”

Richardson said she knows the park would have been a huge thrill for her husband.

“He would be so very proud. He was always such a big fan of making sure everybody got out and (stayed) active,” she said. “He’s with us looking down. Saturday’s going to be a big day for him, too.”