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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Disc golf makes its debut at community centre
Kevin Turcotte focuses while he makes his last throw.
Kevin Turcotte focuses while he makes his last throw. Somer Slobodian

After three years, Niagara-on-the-Lake has opened its first disc golf course at the community centre.

“It’s basically playing golf with a Frisbee,” said Jeremy Miron, an avid disc golf player who was checking out the new course.

He was introduced to the sport by a friend he visited out west a few years back. He’s been playing ever since the pandemic began.

It’s probably one of the quickest growing games on the planet right now, he said. According to UDisc, a popular app for disc golfers, the sport exploded in 2021.

Data from UDisc shows that in 2022 roughly 5.28 courses are built each day. That’s more  than double from 2020, when it was at 2.5 per day. Currently, there are 79 countries with disc golf courses and counting.

Miron was also on the course last Friday, where he achieved a personal accomplishment.

“I got the first ace on the course last night,” he said as his face lit up with excitement.

Miron does wine tours in Niagara-on-the-Lake and is from Niagara Falls. His guests were eating lunch, so he figured he’d go out and play some disc golf.

“As soon as you hear the sound of the chains, it gets addictive,” he said with a laugh.

The sport is similar to golf. Players just replace golf balls and clubs with a flying disc. However, professional disc golf players don’t just use one disc. Some carry between 15 and 25 in their bags.

“As far as the rules are, it’s pretty much exactly like golf with just a different medium as far as getting to the hole,” said Paul Lalonde, the former chair of the community service committee at the Rotary Club.

He’s been leading the project ever since the town brought the idea to him three years ago.

One of the perks of the sport is that anybody can play.

“We love the fact that the sport can be played by a five-year-old as much as it can be by somebody (who) is 100 years old,” said Lalonde.

It can be a fun family outing or an intense competition. Lalonde said he’s looking forward to seeing tournaments or leagues at the community centre in the future.

When the town approached him three years ago about bringing disc golf to NOTL, he was on board. However, the pandemic slowed the process.

Then, when the pandemic started to settle, Lord Mayor Betty Disero called him up.

She told him a recreational activities survey of people ages 18 to 30 found disc golf was No. 1 on their list.

That news set the plan back into action.

The Rotary Club decided on the community centre because of its accessibility. The club also felt it was the only spot where a checkout process was possible.

Lalonde said it worked out because they were able to use an under-utilized part of the community centre. The course winds through some of the trees on the property.

“It’s a little bit more unique because some of the challenges are, you (have) trees around or bends, or you have a little bit more control on the on the arc of your disk,” he said.

Lalonde is excited the course is finally open and said the club hopes to have a grand opening sometime in September.

Currently, the course is free to use for anyone who has their own discs. But after Labour Day the community centre should have discs for visitors to sign out – for  free – and enjoy on the course.

Better signs should be up by then, too.

But if anyone has some discs lying around, they can head on over to test out the course any time.

“It’s actually one of the best games ever,” said Miron.