It hasn’t yet hit the heights of e-sports, but disc golf is making an divot in the sporting community, and in Lloydminster.
“In normal golf, they’ll throw in a water hazard or one dog leg or a sand bunker,” said disc golf enthusiast Ryan Guerra, who helped bring the game to Lloydminster. “Some (disc golf) courses, especially around the United States, are super obstacle driven with lots of trees, multiple dog legs on one hole, elevation changes and stuff like that.”
Disc golf, compared to traditional golf, substitutes frisbee-like discs for golf balls, and human arms for golf clubs. Discs come in the form of drivers, midranges and putters. The different widths of the discs’ lips affect how the disc will curve and float once it’s launched.
Similar to traditional golf, disc golfers try to get the disc into a disc basket using the fewest number of shots.
On average, holes range from 300 to 350 feet from the tee, and the par of each hole is determined by the distance and the obstacles set up between the tee box and the basket.
“Some courses I’ve played, you’re looking down this narrow alley through the trees and the hole is just begging for you to lose your disc into the trees,” Guerra explained.
In 2011, Guerra and a friend approached the city about setting up a disc golf course at Bud Miller All Seasons Park. By 2012, a nine-hole course had been installed.
The first hole tees off east of the beach volleyball and tennis courts, with the rest of the course moving in the same direction before winding back towards the end.
“Since the inception of the course, I’ve been the person selling discs in town because there’s nowhere else you can get them, and there’s definitely been an increase in how many discs I’ve been selling,” Guerra said.
While the game hasn’t yet ascended to live TV broadcast levels, Guerra says that disc golf is slowly gaining steam as an up-and-coming sport, even in Lloydminster.
“You can show up and play anytime, it’s not so busy that you show up and you have to line up. It’s still not really one of the most mainstream sports in the world but you’ll often see people out there playing.”
He added that disc golf is particularly big in Colorado, and the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) organizes dozens of tournaments across North America each month, including some in Canada.
Events involve entry fees for participants and prize money at the end, albeit not the millions that traditional golfers can make on their pro tour.
Still, Ken Climo, who Guerra points to as one of the grandmasters of disc golf, has earned more than $364,000 in winnings throughout his career on the PDGA.
Not bad for a game that’s only beginning to catch on.