INNISFAIL – The site of flying discs at Centennial Park officially becomes a reality this week.
On Aug. 3, the essential disc-catching baskets for each of the nine holes arrived for the new Innisfail Napoleon Lake Disc Golf Course following a 6,800-kilometre journey from Finland.
“It has really been a neat project and we got two really young ambitious guys, Josh Gette and Chris Snyder, that have been spearheading to get the community involved,” said Tim Ainscough, president of the Innisfail Kinsmen, the service club that initiated the disc golf project for the town.
“They have been offering clinics and they’ve got a Facebook page put up and they’ve really helped us progress this project. I’ve heard a lot of positive things from the community and we’re looking forward to getting it built and open and getting people out here playing it.”
The arrival of the sport’s essential hardware was especially gratifying for Gette, who designed the course with Snyder. Gette said the baskets were ordered last April. He said the baskets are not manufactured in the province or anywhere else in Canada. He said they looked at basket manufacturers in the U.S. but finally settled on one in Finland.
“They weren’t even installed coming across the ocean. They were installed in Ontario and COVID shipping delays are pretty standard,” he said, adding the cost was $500 per basket. “No, not cheap but luckily we had some awesome sponsors.”
At about the same time as the arrival of the baskets, workers from the town’s park and recreation department were at Centennial Park last week mowing and grooming the course, which also pleased the pair of 23-year-old passionate disc golf players.
“It’s been awesome. They’ve been phenomenal,” said Gette, of the town’s help and support. “We had a meeting with the town’s rec department and I already looked at hole one and sometime in the next two hours they had the time to mow a whole hole.
“I think the biggest moment is when I walked up there after they mowed one of the fairways, and knowing how I played it with waist high grass and knowing it hasn’t looked like a course for months, I just got really excited and I threw about 20 discs off the tee because it’s just finally there.”
It has been a long road to have what could be the most technically challenging golf course in the province ready for action. The Kinsmen first pitched their two-stage disc golf course idea to council last fall.
Town council approved the Kinsmen plan at its regular meeting on May 25, and a final agreement was approved on June 14.
To help pay for the cost of creating the new disc golf course, the Kinsmen sought the support of the local business community. The idea was to get businesses to sponsor each hole.
Ainscough said the Kinsmen has now sold eight holes for $2,500 each to cover the cost of the nine baskets, five by 10 ft. tee-boxes for each hole and course maintenance expenses.
“We are quite happy with the progress. The baskets are here now. We are working with the town to install some of the baskets this weekend,” said Ainscough, the service club’s co-lead of the project with member Rob Gette.
“And we are still looking for one hole sponsor and then we are going to be ordering the signage to get it up, and we are going to be working with local contractors to get the tee boxes up hopefully a little later this summer.”
In the meantime, Josh Gette and Snyder are already in the planning stage for the design of the back nine course. They plan to begin its construction in the spring of 2022.
For citizens wanting more information on Innisfail disc golf go to the Innisfail Disc Golf page on Facebook. If businesses want to sponsor a course hole, they can message the Innisfail Kinsmen on Facebook or through the service club’s email, firstname.lastname@example.org