INNISFAIL – Get your discs ready for your best tomahawk and scooby shots.
Disc golf is officially coming to town this summer at the new Innisfail Napoleon Lake Disc Golf Course.
Town council approved the Innisfail Kinsmen Club’s plan at its regular meeting on May 25, and the beauty of Centennial Park overlooking Napoleon Lake will soon be the envied place for the increasingly popular outdoor game played by more than 53,000 players in about 40 countries around the world.
Innisfail’s disc golf course will join six others in Central Alberta, including Aspen Meadows Disc Golf Course west of Sundre and Olds’ Hartman Green Disc Golf Course.
“I think it’s all positive and it looks like the Kinsmen are going to take into consideration any concerns we have. I think this is a good idea for the town and I am in favour of it,” said Coun. Danny Rieberger, whose support was immediately echoed by other council members.
The Kinsmen first pitched their two-stage disc golf course idea to council last fall and since then they’ve worked on a design for the course’s first nine holes at Centennial Park.
Tim Ainscough, president of the service club, unveiled a power point presentation to council on May 25 of the course’s first nine holes that wind between Centennial Park’s green spaces and treed areas. Council was told experienced disc golfers, including those from Calgary and Edmonton, have already played the course and gave it high marks.
When the course is ready for play in the summer, anyone in town will be able to play for free.
“The intent is that we are going to build it, and it will be free for people to use. We’ll put a big sign in the parking lot showing the (course) map,” he said, adding users can get a free app called UDisc, described as an all-in-one disc golf app designed by disc golfers. The UDisc app helps players keep score, find courses anywhere in the world, track player stats and even measures throws.
“We are building it so it can be a tournament course, so we could get organizations coming in and renting it for the weekend and putting on a tournament. There is good interest.”
Ainscough said the Kinsmen have already acquired sponsorship commitments for eight of the nine holes with each paying $2,500. The total monies raised gives the Kinsmen $22,500 that will cover the cost of baskets, t-boxes and course maintenance. In return each sponsor gets naming rights for 10 years and their names on parking lot signage and t-boxes.
While all material costs for the course will be the Kinsmen responsibility, Ainscough said the town will be asked to provide in-kind help with machinery for installation and maintenance. He said the Kinsmen will be hiring a contractor to help with the t-boxes.
As for course maintenance, Ainscough said the area will stay in its natural state, and not like a traditional golf course that requires regular grooming. He said the commitment being asked of the town is to trim around the baskets once or twice a year.
“If it gets used a lot that is not going to be a big issue because the grass is going to get trampled down like the other trails, and if any trees fall over the town already does that maintenance in that area,” said Ainscough. “All we ask them (town) is if a tree falls down, they will work with us to get that out of the way.”
Responding to a council question about safety, Ainscough said warning signs of disc golf play will be placed in areas where other park users might come into conflict with players. He added rougher areas that might impact other park users can be smoothed out to make them easier to walk.
“It looked to me like there would be minimal interference with the trails but I think if those people are suitably warned…and to me an awful lot of it looks like otherwise totally unused terrain,” said Coun. Gavin Bates.
Ainscough said last week that administration called him after council’s May 25 regular meeting to arrange a meeting to get the agreement in place to operate the disc golf course. He said disc golf baskets and remaining necessary materials will then be ordered.
“Once we have that we will be able to move forward. Installing them (baskets) won’t take very long,” said Ainscough, adding that once the course’s front nine is ready the Kinsmen will then work with the town to get approval for the back nine.
“We got nine holes to drill, then put them in. We will turn it around in a weekend. I am hoping before the end of the summer it will be fully functional.”