One of Vancouver’s pitch and putt golf courses replaced golf balls with flying discs on Saturday to showcase a sport that advocates say has been growing in popularity — especially over the pandemic — and needs more space in the city.
The Van City United Disc Golf Club partnered with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to create a temporary disc golf course at the Rupert Park Pitch and Putt.
Club member Gagan Singh said the 192 Saturday tee times available at the course for $20 per player were booked up in less than 10 minutes after online reservations went live.
“There is huge demand,” he said about the sport which has players aim and throw discs at poles or steel-chain baskets.
The goal of the sport is to hit a pole or land the disc in the basket with as few throws as possible, just like golf.
The sport is known for its low barriers such as reasonable cost and easy-to-acquire skill level.
“It’s a sport that you can play for free. It’s actually very low cost,” said Singh. “It’s a sport that people can play together in the sense that you can play with your kids.”
A backpack full of discs for disc golf. While some players like to have many discs to play, the sport requires only one, which advocates say helps make the sport accessible. (CBC News)
At the Rupert Pitch and Putt course on Saturday many players said they were drawn to the sport during the pandemic began because it’s a low-stress activity that lets them safely gather with other people outside .
“It’s a lifelong addiction,” said Chris Robson who has been playing for 22 years.
WATCH | Disc golfers crowd Vancouver pitch and putt to showcase sport:
Disc golf advocates in Vancouver hold pop up event to showcase sport
Vancouver has three free disc golf public courses: Jericho Hill on the grounds of the Jericho Hill Community Centre, Little Mountain in Queen Elizabeth Park and Quilchena on Magnolia Street.
Disc golf proponents like Singh and Robson say that development plans are threatening the future of the Jericho Hill course and Quilchena is outdated because the course is set along park pathway which can create unsafe conditions for walkers, cyclists and other people using the park.
“In the last year and a half, it’s exploded,” said Robson about the growing popularity of disc golf in Vancouver. “We need more resources, we need more space.”
He hopes the pop up event will convince the Park Board to invest in updating the courses it has in the city and even adding more to meet demand.
Several Parks Board staff members participated in the Rupert pop-up event as did some commissioners such as Dave Demers.
“It’s a great sport, it’s super accessible,” he said. “It’s like a walk in a park with a goal. It’s a lot of fun.”
Demers said that the Park Board is looking at how to do more pop-up events in different areas of the city in the future.
“There is obviously a great demand,” he said.
What about private courses?
Singh says he is also hopeful that private courses may eventually emerge in the city. That could provide amenities some players are looking for and ease the burden at public courses.
“There is an appetite for paid courses. You get access to a bit more privacy, you get access to food, access to concessions and access to washrooms.”