Yukon students give disc golf a whirl

If the Whitehorse Disc Golf Association has things its way, there'll be a lot more youth players on Whitehorse's disc golf course in the future.

If the Whitehorse Disc Golf Association has things its way, there’ll be a lot more youth players on Whitehorse’s disc golf course in the future.

In an effort to make this happen, the WDGA teamed up with the Yukon Schools Athletic Association to introduce the sport to youngsters last week.

The two associations hosted the YSAA Disc Golf Doubles Tournament on Friday at the “Mount Mac” course at Mount McIntyre.

In June they co-hosted a clinic for Grade 8s, on Friday it was a tourney for Grade 7s and 8s, and in the future all school grades will take part in tournaments, hopes WDGA president Ryan Norquay.

“It was a great time. Exciting. Lots of smiles on the kids’ faces,” said Norquay. “We did a brief introductory session similar to this back in the beginning of June and it was only 20 Grade 8 students from Porter Creek (Secondary), just feeling the waters, see how it would go.

“We’re going to hopefully keep doing this and get every grade in the schools playing disc golf.”

A total of 84 Grade 7s and 36 Grade 8s from a half dozen schools took part in the non-competitive event. In the doubles format, members of two-person teams would each throw a disc and would then throw the following shots from the better location the first throws landed. The format is also called “best disc” play.

“(In June) the reaction was really positive, so this year we wanted to open it up a little bit, so we opened it to the Grade 7s and Grade 8s,” said YSAA president Marc Senecal. “It was not a scored thing for this year. We just wanted to have it play out and see how it worked out.

“Next year we’ll potentially put in a little more structure.”

“When you’re learning to play disc golf, it’s kind of good to forget about the score, but I know I saw a lot of pars and some birdies and some miraculous shots that bounced off trees and went right into the basket,” said Norquay.

The WDGA is currently waiting for approval from the Yukon government’s land branch to construct a world-class disc golf course in Whitehorse. The capital is already home to a number of disc golf courses, but the proposed course would be in a whole other class. The 18-hole course would be classified a championship course, meaning it would be much longer and challenging, but would accommodate both high-level and novice players. It would meet the requirements of the Professional Disc Golf Association, so Whitehorse could host major tournaments. It would have Astroturf tee boxes, signage and even a warm-up hole. It would also have proper metal baskets – the target for each hole – that catch the discs.

The WDGA submitted an application with the government’s land branch in June for a 6.3-hectare parcel of Whitehorse city land. The proposed location is bounded by the Alaska Highway, Yukon College, and the neighborhoods of Takhini, Kopper King and Porter Creek.

“We feel it’s a beautiful place for disc golf,” said Norquay in a recent interview. “There’s been reclamation on the gravel pits and the trails there, probably from when the highway was being built. When there was a refinery they were using a lot of that area as a gravel pit, so it provides open clearings for us so we don’t have to cut trees. It’s got a great variety of elevation. It’s got beautiful scenery and wildlife. It’s already an amazing recreation space.

“It would be such a great link between the neighbourhoods, between Takhini North, Porter Creek, Kopper King.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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