Casual visitors to Metchosin Golf Club might wonder what those strange-looking contraptions are placed at various spots along the fairways, or do a double take seeing people throw what appear to be frisbees around the course.
Featuring a circular array of heavy chains above a wider circular basket, the devices are part of a new development at the course designed to attract a new group of enthusiasts: disc golf players.
“It blew me away how popular it is,” said club general manager Shannon McClymont, who recently welcomed the South Island Disc Golf Society’s members to their new home.
Early this year the society came to an agreement with Metchosin Golf Club and its membership on a scenario that would see an 18-hole disc golf course set up, with the baskets – the ‘holes’ for disc golf – placed on the edges of the fairways.
While some members were a bit reluctant, McClymont said, the majority were willing to give it a try. “We said to the members, ‘don’t jump to any conclusions before you try it out,’” she said.
The disc golfers, many of whom are also traditional golfers, are thrilled with the opportunity to re-establish their sport in an area with solid support.
South Island Disc Golf Society president Dan MacDonald helps oversee a body with a paid membership of 80 members, a number he was told is one of the highest in B.C. “And that’s with no dedicated courses,” he said. “The people who support it do so passionately.”
The group has more than 500 likes on its Facebook page, not surprising when the number of casual and more competitive players on Vancouver Island is estimated to be in the thousands.
The society had gained a foothold at Prospect Lake, where they logged hundreds of volunteer hours clearing brush and preparing the course, MacDonald said. But they look forward to presenting a new layout for experienced and new players at Metchosin.
Langford resident Josh Evans, a society board member who has been playing competitive and professional events for about a year, said many players are used to more technical courses – i.e. playing in the forest.
He said the long, relatively straight holes at Metchosin lend themselves well to the disc game. “The pros like the long holes where they can just grip it and rip it,” he said.
In general, he looks forward to having a home base for the local disc golf community. Longer-term goals for the society include hosting skills clinics, mini-tournaments and perhaps an Island Series event in the fall, he said.
For those wondering how the two groups will co-exist, tee off areas are on the cart paths mostly, and disc players are asked to yield to regular golfers. With the greens not coming into play in the disc game, the rule about steering clear of them should be easy to adhere to for players.
The society’s mandate, MacDonald said, “is to promote the sport and make it affordable for families.”
The cost of an 18-hole round at Metchosin is a reasonable $8, while a second go-round drops to $4. Society members pay a discounted rate of $5 for the first round and $3 for subsequent ones.
Disc golfers will book tee times, as per regular golf, although walkups are accepted. From now until early April, when regular golf gets underway in earnest, the course is available seven days a week from 12:30 p.m. onward for both disc golf and traditional golf play. McClymont said they’ll reassess the situation at that point to see how best to accommodate both groups moving forward.
For more information, visit metchosingolfcourse.com or call 250-478-3266. For details on the society, visit sidgs.org.