The Hub August 2017 - Page 8

Angelica Haggert It isn’t golf. Or Frisbee. It’s disc golf, and it’s found a local home at Lakewood Park in Tecumseh. Uniquely Canadian, the first documented game of disc golf was in the early 1900s in Saskatchewan. Competitively, disc golf was reintroduced in 1970 at the Canadian Open Frisbee Championship in Toronto. So what in the world is disc golf? “It’s just like what we call ball golf,” says Ron Hebert of Windsor Essex Disc Golf. “The concept and the rules are very, very similar - except instead of hitting a ball, you are throwing a disc.” That disc? It’s actually not a Frisbee. “Most people start out with a driver [disc], a mid-range and a putter: a three-disc set,” said Hebert. “In my bag, I have 12-14 discs.” More popular on the West Coast, disc golf is slowly moving into the area. The Lakewood course opened officially in May, having operated for almost two years on a temporary course before that. Photo courtesy of Windsor Essex Disc Golf “Prior to us opening, you had to go to Michigan or up to the St. Thomas area,” said Hebert. “The Professional Disc Golf Association lists almost 7000 courses in North America.” That’s right - there’s a PDGA. They have a newsletter (The DiscGolfer), a DISCussion board and members-only events.The PDGA’s International Disc Golf Center hosts the National Championship in September. “I think word is getting out,” said Hebert. “It’s getting busier and busier. People are having a blast.” While there is skill and technique to be developed, you can start by just giving the disc a toss. “In the late spring we had students come out,” said Hebert. “We’re doing a Tecumseh summer camp, and we’ll always come out and start people off.” The Third Annual Windsor Essex Disc Golf Tournament takes place in October. It will be the first time the tournament takes place on the permanent course. It costs $40.00 to play, which includes a disc and a towel. “I grew up always throwing a Frisbee and always playing golf,” Hebert explains. “When I found out there was a way to combine the two I was in heaven.” Disc golf has been slow to catch on in Ontario. “Canadians are obsessed with hockey,” Hebert said. “Luckily the developers used to recreate Lakewood Park were from B.C., where the activity is more popular.” Windsor Essex Disc Golf was established in 2013. Although there are no established leagues, a core group plays regularly on Photo courtesy of Windsor Essex Disc Golf Sundays at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays at 6 p.m. “We never stop playing,” said Hebert. Yes, that means they play through the winter. “Just don’t throw a white disc in the snow!” Courses can exist buried in forests or right out in the open. The game uses water and tree barriers, just like normal golf. At Lakewood Park, disc golf is free to play. There are no designated tee times to schedule around. If you do not own discs, you can borrow some to play at Lakewood Cafe for $10.00 - refundable when you return the disc. “It’s a great low-cost activity,” said Hebert.“For $50.00 you can get a solid three-disc set, and play for years without ever paying another dime.” Hebert sees people of all ages and abilities out on the course. “You don’t have to move quickly, or be incredibly strong,” said Hebert. “Anyone can play.” For more information on local disc golf opportunities, visit Windsor Essex Disc Golf on Facebook, or stop by Lakewood Park. Where are you exploring this summer? Tell us about it! Use the tag #ExploringMatters on Facebook and Twitter to let us know! 8 The HUB -August 2017