Just over a year ago, the Campbell River Disc Golf Society (CRDGS) approached the City of Campbell River for some help.
They’d become a victim of their own success, they told council, and the ever-increasing popularity of the sport had worn down the course surrounding the Sportsplex in Willow Point, which hadn’t had significant improvements made on it since construction was completed almost 20 years ago. It was in need of significant work to bring it up to a condition the community could be proud of.
Council agreed to consider funding some improvements during the 2020 budget deliberations and went on to approve the request last December.
And the work began in January.
“They were pretty gung ho to get it done,” says CRDGS president Dan Walker. “They dug right in and had it almost done by the time COVID hit.”
The work was done in consultation with the society, which already had a good idea what needed to happen.
Like in golf, disc golf holes should have various tee boxes to start each hole from, depending on the players’ skill level. That wasn’t the case at the Campbell River course before the improvements this year. They went from having a small gravel spot at most holes from which to tee off to having 19 concrete tee pads for novice players (red), 19 concrete tee pads for intermediate and advanced players (blue) and nine concrete tee pads for experts (gold).
Along with the tee pads, there is accompanying signage at each hole with yardages and a hole map, as well as a new signage board at the start of the course with course rules and an overview map of the course.
There were also significant improvements to the drainage on the course, danger trees were removed, new trees were planted and three new yellow cedar bridges were installed over small creeks throughout the course.
“The course looks great,” Walker says. “They’ve done a magnificent job. They’ve gone over and above everything we expected.”
Unfortunately, it’s possible the fact that the course is so good now is only going to perpetuate the problem they were having before. With the growing popularity of the sport – and now with a course they can be proud of – there’s a chance they’ll quickly outgrow the facility.
Walker estimates that there’s been a doubling of people making use of the course over the past few months.
“Our next venture is to replace all the baskets in the spring – those baskets have been there 20 years and they’re pretty beat up – and then we’re going to have to start looking for land for another course,” Walker says. “There are a few areas we’re looking at, but we’ll have to see.”
Thankfully, the sport is growing everywhere, so people who are into it can find more and more places to play, even if they have to travel a little ways to do so.
“Nanaimo has a beautiful course in Bowen Park and they just put an 18-hole course on Pryde Vista Golf Course that’s only $10 to play, and there’s another course they’re working on,” Walker says. “And the Comox and Courtenay guys are just rocking it,” he continues, pointing out there are courses either going up or currently in the planning process around various schools down in the Valley.
“There’s nowhere to go but up right now.”
For more information on the CRDGS you can find them on Facebook by searching Campbell River Disc Golf Society. They host weekly events for players of all skill levels, and membership in the club is only $25 per year.
Alternatively, of course, you can always just grab a couple of discs and go play a round and check out what they’ve done to the place.