If, on a recent walk through the Mount McIntrye trails, you’ve heard a lot of rustling and crashing around in the bushes, it may not have been the bear you feared it was.
Instead, it may be a pack of disc golfers.
Most simply put, disc golf is like regular golf except with Frisbees. In more detail, disc golf is a game in which individual players throw a flying disc at a target with the object of traversing a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws.
Of the more than 3000 established disc golf courses in more than 40 countries worldwide, approximately 87 percent are free, including Whitehorse’s own Mount McIntrye course.
Disc golf has been popular in the territory for years now. The City of Whitehorse initially established a course in the Takhini area near the broomball rink.
When expanded development in the area caused the first course to close, the city worked with local enthusiasts to establish the course in the Mount McIntyre trails.
The 18-hole course can be accessed from the dog parking lot (the gravel parking lot just past the main Mount McIntyre access road off of Hamilton Boulevard). Almost every day in the summer months you will see a few cars parked here belonging to golfers out on the course.
It’s safe to say that disc golfers take themselves less seriously than their counterparts who swing clubs at little white balls. The atmosphere on Whitehorse’s disc golf course is laid back and inclusive.
The last game I played involved my husband, father-in-law, and a friend with his one-year-old son in a backpack.
During our time on the course we ran into the league players—a group of talented, fun-loving, and serious disc golfers who meet every Tuesday at 7 p.m., and who are always looking to swell their numbers.
There was a couple and their very well-trained dog (flying discs break my dog’s brain, so she can’t come out to play with us, which ensures that I am always impressed when I come across a dog who can).
There was also a pack of teenagers trying the sport for their first time, ; and a father with two tiny children who weren’t coming close to par on any hole, but had huge smiles on their faces.
I think the accessibility of the sport provides a huge draw.
All you need to play is a disc, which you can pick up at Intersport in downtown Whitehorse.
If you’re looking for your first disc, try a fairway driver like the Eagle, Cheetah, Banshee, or Teebird. That’s right, disc golf discs come with cool names. They are also in bright colours, which makes them less easy to lose.
Disc golf discs are different from regular Frisbees or ultimate discs. They are more robust (which is important for when you inevitably hit a tree with one), and they fly differently.
This means that it will take you some practice (sometimes a lot of practice) to master/become proficient/not hit every tree on the course with them.
The Whitehorse course is well-marked with red metal signs pointing you in the direction of each hole (metal baskets that you are trying to land your discs in).
Markers show you where to tee off (make your first throw from). The majority of the holes are par threes, with a few exceptionally long par fours (meaning the number of throws it should theoretically take you to complete the hole).
Expect to spend some time thrashing around in the bushes impersonating a bear in search of an errant disc, but also expect to have a great time.
Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.