For the past fifteen years the Whatcom Disc Golf Club (WDGC) has worked hard to ensure our local disc golf courses stay groomed and ready for players. Within the past three years they’ve seen immense growth, held fundraisers, tournaments, and volunteer work parties.
Ryan Klassen is the current president of the club and provided some great insight into the standard club events, “In a normal year, we run a number of disc golf events. During the week we usually have a random doubles tournament, weekly singles events at various courses, and a few larger tournaments like the Cornwall Classic at Cornwall Park, the Battle at the Border in Blaine, and we usually run a fundraiser for a local charity or food bank called the Ice Bowl.”
Disc golf is played similarly to golf. However, instead of a ball and clubs, players use an assortment of discs. These range from putters through mid-range discs, fairway drivers, and distance drivers. Players throw off a tee pad or tee off, and attempt to make it into a disc golf basket. The goal is to complete a full round (Usually nine to eighteen holes) with the lowest number of throws. This sport can be played solo or with a group, competitively or casually, and is a great way to get outside. Locally there are three courses open to everyone; Lincoln Park in Blaine, Vanderyacht Park in Ferndale, and Cornwall Park in Bellingham.
During the pandemic Whatcom Disc Golf Club has taken many precautions to ensure players safety, “Covid has mostly affected the WDGC in social gatherings and events. We have decided not to run any Club events until we reach Phase 3, just to keep group numbers down and keep everyone safe. We have also noticed a number of people joining the club and more people playing disc golf because of Covid. People want to be safe and active and disc golf is a good way to do this.” wrote Klassen.
I think its important to mention that disc golf is an activity that can be accessed and played during Covid-19. Here’s what local disc golfer Bill Rink explained, “In the beginning of the pandemic the baskets were pulled from Cornwall Park and Mossy Roc, but after about three months and the lifting of restrictions they were put back in. I think they realized it was a sport that you can easily social distance and keep groups to a minimum and that it was good to have a place to go and do something outside.”
Especially, during a pandemic where we spend most of our time quarantining in our homes, its great to have something outside that can be accessed safely while staying socially distant from others. However, that’s not the only reason why the sport of disc golf is so outstanding.
Ryan explained, “Disc golf is relaxing and rejuvenating for me. When I feel stressed out, I like to get outside and play. Forest time is good for everyone and disc golf just gives another reason to get outside. I also like it because I can play on my own or with others, whether it is a casual round or competing against others. You don’t have to organize an event to get out and play. I find that I usually have more energy for family, work, etc., when I play disc golf.”
When it comes to sports, their usually played competitively, with the only source of casual play being a backyard pick of games; and even then, they can become extremely competitive. Nevertheless, disc golf has that great ability to be played casually and competitively. This was so evidently shown by both Ryan and Bill.
“I like that it is a casual sport but also very competitive. It doesn’t cost a lot and take 5 hours to play like regular golf. Being able to control the disc and make it do what you want it to do and then watching its flight is a great feeling.” explained Rink.
What if you want to try out disc golf for yourself? Where do you get started, and what steps should you take?
Ryan Klassen left these tips for anyone wanting to try it out, “My first tip is to start with one or just a few frisbees. Figure out how they throw and if you like them. Once you get those frisbees dialed in, branch out and pick up a few more. Locally, you can pick up disc golf frisbees at Cosmic games, Dicks Sporting goods, and Ace Hardware in Ferndale.”
Bill Rink also had some advice for anyone new to the sport, “If you are new to the sport, I would suggest throwing discs that are light and under stable. 150 class discs weigh between 150-160 grams and they are a bit easier to throw. Under stable discs tend to fly straighter and not curve out so quickly. You Tube is loaded with great how-to videos on disc golf. Watch some videos on how to hold the disc, your form and how to throw. You will be amazed at the difference next time you are out on a course.”
With all this information all that’s left is to get out on the course and try it! Disc golf is a great sport that’s easily accessible, even during the pandemic. Its safe, inexpensive and a great way to get some exercise!