Local disc golf players are hoping to hit the links more this summer as the demand for a good quality public course in Greater Victoria looms large.
City of Langford bylaw staff recently dismantled an active disc golf course in Happy Valley that had been operating since 2015 on private property, as a way to mitigate wildfire risks.
While the closure was related to greater community safety, the removal of the course highlights the need for a facility that provides free access to people at all experience levels, said South Island Disc Golf Society (SIDGS) president Rob Thomas.
“The demand for disc golf is so high that folks are just going out and putting up courses wherever they can,” he said. “Disc golf is a no-brainer as far as something the city or municipality can provide to residents.”
A good-quality course with chain baskets and tee pads would generate tourism for the city, he said. In 2019, the society hosted a sold-out disc golf tournament at Cedar Hill Golf Course for 120 participants.
Thomas estimates the infrastructure necessary for an 18-hole course costs less than $20,000 but he acknowledged finding space is the major challenge. The Capital Regional District has parks property that could be suitable for a course, he added, particularly around Elk/Beaver Lake and farther up the Saanich Peninsula.
In a survey two years ago for redevelopments at Topaz Park in Victoria, the addition of a disc golf course was a popular option, but dismissed over a lack of space in the park.
The City of Victoria hosts free drop-in disc golf on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park for all levels until Aug. 28. City engagement coordinator Amy Bronee said in an email that “further disc golf amenities are not in the city’s financial plan or council’s strategic plan.”
Beacon Hill Park, though seen as ideal for disc golf by players, cannot legally accommodate a course due to the park’s land trust restrictions and abundance of sensitive species. The disc golf society plans to submit a 2021 participatory budgeting proposal in hopes of having a small course funded in a section of the park.
Currently, Layritz Disc Golf Course is the only publicly sanctioned facility operating all year in Greater Victoria.
Created by the society and the District of Saanich as a pilot project, it has no baskets and is mainly geared toward newer players.
Elsewhere, the by-donation course at Mary’s Farm and Sanctuary on Finlayson Arm Road, perhaps the highest-quality disc golf course in the region, is open on weekends but has been overly busy during the pandemic, Thomas said.
Metchosin Golf and Country Club’s disc golf course appeals to more advanced players, but with the pandemic popularity of regular golf, playing times are limited.
Shoreline Middle School established a six-hole course with baskets earlier this year, with availability outside of school hours.
For more information on local disc golf, visit sidgs.org.