June 16th, 2024

Disc golfers hit city courses for the Spring Runoff

By Lethbridge Herald on May 21, 2024.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Kevin Gillon of Calgary takes a shot at the Nicholas Sheran Park disc golf course on Sunday.

Al Beeber

Disc golfers from several provinces and the United States converged on two city courses on the long weekend for the biggest event of the sport’s local calendar.

The 18-hole courses at Nicholas Sheran Lake and Aperture Park at the University of Lethbridge were packed with amateurs and professionals for the 2024 Spring Runoff which ran through Monday.

The tournament opened at 9 a.m. on Saturday at both courses and concluded yesterday at 4:30 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran with awards scheduled to be handed out at 5 p.m.

The tournament was a B-tier tournament with golfers playing one round per day. It was also a Women’s Global Event and Canadian Women’s Event. It was a participating event in the newly formed Cold Garden Cup series.

The event also featured a long drive competition Sunday evening at Nicholas Sheran, vendors and a beer garden to help slake the thirst of competitors and fans alike.

Tournament director Rebecca Johnson said Sunday afternoon the event was the ninth annual and it attracted about 200 players.

“We play in the rain, the shine and the snow as long as there isn’t something dangerous like lightning or a tornado on the course in which case we call a weather delay which we almost did earlier today,” said Johnson, a couple of hours after a heavy rain briefly fell on the city.

“It was a little questionable but we kept playing through it and hopefully the worst is over,” Johnson said.

The tournament had a few dozen local players plus competitors from B.C., Saskatchewan and Montana.

“It’s a very big sport. It’s one of the fastest growing professional sports in the world and as a casual sport, it’s really growing as well. COVID really sort of pushed that because a lot of people were not able to play their regular sports so this was a way for people to get outside and be six feet apart and be safe. It’s just kind of taken off since then,” added Johnson.

Nicholas Sheran is one of the best courses in Alberta and one of the longest in Canada, said Johnson.

“It’s a beautiful park-like course and we’re very fortunate to have it here.”

The pro players were scheduled to be at Nicholas Sheran on Monday with the top-rated men and women teeing off in the afternoon.

All of the female participants were playing against women all over the world based on their ratings,” said Johnson, this tournament being probably the biggest held in Lethbridge to date.

The sport has grown exponentially in Lethbridge over the decades. Course designer Craig Burrows-Johnson recently told The Herald that in 2001 there were perhaps six people playing the sport in the city and now “there are hundreds and hundreds” with the club having 200 members alone.

Disc golf came to Lethbridge after it was made an official sport for the Alberta Senior Games.

In 2000, Lethbridge won the bid for the 2001 games. Different sites were looked at for a course including Henderson Lake where a nine-basket course had existed at one time that nobody used.

Other events planned this year here at the NSP course include the  the national amateur championships Aug. 24-25. 

The Aperture coursewill host the 2024 Fall Classic on Sept. 21.

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