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New Calgary disc golf course to open in honour of avid player

If you’ve never played disc golf in Calgary, please remember rule number one: Don’t call it Frisbee golf.

Should you decide to turn in your clubs and dimpled balls to play the increasingly popular alternative outdoor game, you’ll be able to do so at the newest dedicated disc golf park, opening this weekend in Royal Oak.

The Parks Foundation Calgary is celebrating the grand opening of the 27-acre, par-66, 18-hole David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park in the northwest on Saturday. The 8,000-foot track is the longest in Calgary, will be used as a professional tournament venue and, unlike its expensive elder cousin, this game of golf is free.

Sheila Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of the Parks Foundation, said their organization got involved after a chance meeting between the former CEO Myrna Dube-Thompson and Treasure Richardson, wife of the park’s namesake, David.

When David died suddenly in 2015, the family was looking for a way to remember him and give back to the community. David was a prominent member of the city’s automotive community and an avid disc golf player.

With the Parks Foundation’s biggest-ever project, the 138-kilometre Rotary/Mattamy Greenway encircling the city, and the desire to create “amenities” all around it for people to enjoy, there was a match.

“It seemed like a good fit to have a disc golf park located along the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway,” said Taylor.

“Disc golf is a really fun sport that is so accessible because it’s free for everyone. And it’s great for people who are really enthusiasts of the sport, and also for those who are just looking for a nice, family-friendly activity.”

The majority of funding for the $700,000 project was raised by the family and the land was donated by the province.

Calgary Frisbee (disc) ambassador Rob McLeod, aka Frisbee Rob, has had a big role in helping the family promote disc golf in the park and provided his expertise on the technical side of the course’s design. He had met and bonded with Treasure Richardson after being connected by Calgary city councillor and avid disc golfer, Gian-Carlo Carra.

McLeod said this park is definitely going to help the game grow in the city and ease up the traffic on Baker Park (north side of the Bow River across from Bowness Park), which houses the first-ever 18-hole disc golf course in Calgary.

“It’s a lot more safe having a dedicated disc golf course,” McLeod said, noting that they basically had to slot themselves into Baker Park among the other recreational users.

“It’s definitely going to help alleviate the pressure on Baker Park, which can get pretty crowded on the weekends.”

And having more access is going to grow the game organically.

“It’s just so easy to get into,” he said.

“Who wants to go spend $70 or $80 and spend four hours, when I can spend an hour and a half and play for free.”

It is free to play, and the David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park opens to the public at noon on Saturday (June 9).