A new sport is making its mark in Saskatchewan, and people all over the province are trying their toss at it.
Disc golf is an outdoor sport in which players throw a disc at a target that sits hundreds of feet away – with very similar rules to the game of golf.
Saskatchewan is home to 65 disc golf courses spread far across rural and provincial parks. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic this year means finding safe ways to get active is especially important. The province’s many disc golf courses provide a way to follow health guidelines and be physically distanced while having fun.
Jerri-Ann Brownbridge and boyfriend Arlen did just that in 2020, hitting every single disc golf course Saskatchewan has to offer.
“Every weekend we planned a new location to hit as many courses in that area as possible,” said Jerri-Ann. “Many of the courses are located in the provincial parks. Aside from the courses, we would camp at two to three different provincial park campgrounds during each visit.”
When COVID-19 suspended their original summer plans, Jerri-Ann wanted to take her favorite hobby on the road and experience Saskatchewan parks in the process.
“It’s a great way to get outside, stay active and have fun. When COVID hit, our [favourite] pastime really took off. It was one of the only sports you could play safely that didn’t require a group and already provided a social distancing aspect.”
June is Recreation and Parks Month in Saskatchewan, and Jerri-Ann, Arlen and their family were able to combine the two Saskatchewan favourites with ease in 2020.
For them, it was a summer filled with low scores and often excitement or frustration with each throw. Though disc golf was the reason for their visit, Jerri-Ann and her family recall some of their greatest experiences being in the provincial parks, each space offering something new to experience making the road trip one for the memory books.
“We shared so many memories, The Battlefords Provincial Park [had] outstanding views and we discovered a hidden second course. It’s not just the sport you fall in love with, it’s the community. I think Arlen and I have grown as a couple. Camping every weekend in the summer, using a tent, you learn how well you can work together.”
With two young kids, some of the planning to execute this tour came down to ease of access, proximity to home and amenities.
“We planned the weekends we had [the kids] to be a little more family-friendly, hitting up Moose Mountain and Cypress Hills, Buffalo Pound and Danielson, Duck Mountain and Humboldt as our family-friendly short-course tours. There are lots of things to do around those parks outside of disc golf.”
“On the weekends we didn’t have [the kids], we went right out to maximize the most challenging courses.”
One of their fondest memories was their final adventure, tackling the course in Bladworth, known as the home and originator of disc golf.
“It was so fun to realize that this sport began in our very own province. It was the perfect wrap-up to our tour.
“We did a pop-up course all over the village of Bladworth. We chatted with the locals who had no idea the sport began there with Ronald Franklin Gibson in 1927 throwing tin lids into sand circles.”
Outside of Bladworth, Jerri-Ann mentioned some more of her favourite stops along the way, highlighting:
- Central Butte, for the scavenger hunt of baskets around the city.
- TreeOSix, for the amazing sites of the pole trees and zip lines above the course.
- The Battlefords Provincial Park because in Jerri-Ann’s words, “You have to see it to believe it; it’s just so beautiful.”
The experience derived from the adventure and travel, but the most important aspect of this journey for Jerri-Ann and Arlen was continuing to stay active and doing something they loved during such unprecedented times.
“[This sport] gets you outside, keeps you active and safely socializing. Many people feel the calmness it provides for their mental health. I truly don’t know where I’d be without this sport and the people involved.”
And as far as cost goes, Jerri-Ann believes it’s one of the most cost-effective sports to get involved in.
“It’s a very inclusive, cost-efficient sport. You can buy a disc for $15 and play almost anywhere and anytime.”
A summer to remember with experiences they will never forget, Jerri-Ann and her family recall the summer of 2020 very fondly.
“That summer was the best experience of our lives. The road trips, the laughs, the music, the people and having a memory for every single course and campsite we stopped at.”
“It was an adventure of a lifetime.”
You can find a disc golf course in the following Saskatchewan Provincial Parks:
- Moose Mountain (new)
- Blackstrap (new)
- Buffalo Pound
- Good Spirit Lake
- The Battlefords
- Katepwa Point
- Great Blue Heron