Updated: Dec 7, 2022
In 2022, It may not seem out of the ordinary to see a new disc golf course get installed. Especially in Kamloops - a community with an incredible Disc Golf club, and a LOT of community support. I mean from 2020-2021 alone the club grew 400% in membership, and saw 1000s of rounds played on local courses.
But, I am writing this blog to share with our community - so many of you new to the sport - that a disc golf course does not come magically into existence, is not a fast process, and takes a considerable amount of work.
So I want to take a few minutes here, and share what this journey (getting a new course) looks like, give some significant shout outs to those involved, and share the story of our new local Kamloops 9 hole disc golf course the KDGC just finished installing
Disc Golf in Kamloops, a Westsyde story.
Approximately 20 years ago, a young KDGC (Kamloops Disc Golf Club) installed a Disc Golf course in Westysde. This was the 3rd course in Kamloops in the early 2000s. But this was a time where Disc Golf was a fledgling sport with little community sport. This course is a memory now. It came and left in the Disc Golf and Westsyde scenes, but those early courses and activities of the KDGC started something awesome. Something lasting.
Disc Golf continued, and slowly grew.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019. One of the worst seasons in memory of BC Wildfires, where all large parks were shut down due to smoke exposure and risk of fire. Only small local, lush green spaces remained open. With the local courses unplayable, the KDGC looked for options to set up temporary courses in Kamloops for the members to continue to play this awesome sport many have grown to love. Westsyde centennial was one of the courses which had temporary tonals setup so Disc Golfers could continue to play. The KDGC designed a workable layout, and played it! It served its purpose.
The following year, the KDGC was busy reaching out to local municipal departments, various groups, and ball golf course owners, all to look for possible new course installations. A 9 hole course at Westsyde was one of the proposals we put to the city of Kamloops.
In 2021, things got real. The city responded with a request for us to put forward a full proposal. We complied. Ben Laidlaw and myself spent hours detailing a hole by hole layout, costing, benefits, stats from our other local courses, and the benefits to the community of installing a Disc Golf course.
The city came back and asked the KDGC to run a public survey to gauge interest in the Westsyde community. We utilized Facebook and had polls, Q&A, and various dialogue with residents. We were excited and surprised by the overwhelming support of the community to turn this relatively unused green space into a Disc Golf course. This took a couple months, and with the positive responses, the city could now take our proposal through approval processes and planning committees. Jump ahead again to the end of 2021. The City of Kamloops - and a few key individuals that work with the KDGC from the city - let us know the good news. The city of Kamloops has approved Westsyde for a course! It was real! Now, the hardest work began. Planning the materials, layouts, costs, logistics, and manpower needed to do a course installation started in earnest.
A course installation.
Switching gears a bit, Lets discuss some of the logistics and work it takes to put a course into the ground.
While we were fortunate to reduce costs by repurposing old baskets the club had, they needed work. Dismantling, cleaning, gridining, sending off to the sandblasters and powder coaters all had to be done just to make the baskets usable. The club was fortunate to have a local player and Disc Golf store owner Dan Coombs lend the club use of his metal shop and tools to do the work, and store the baskets as they were being refreshed.
“Whether new baskets are purchased, or old baskets refurbished, prepping baskets for an installation is an important piece to make a new course successful.” Due to logistics and planning, we broke the installation into two parts on site, and a metric TON of background preparation. The installations broke into phase 1: Install the basket sleeves and phase 2, install the teepads, signage, and baskets themselves. This method allows for a methodical tactical approach to setting and concreting the sleeves and getting the course laid out while also utilizing a bigger installation group during phase 2. It also avoids any eager Disc Golfers to start throwing holes while others are still at work! (This is a pro tip to course install - Install baskets last in the process) The background work to make these two phases work I cannot overstate how important it is. Basket prep. Sleeve alignment. Sleeve and ground box prep. Concrete. Drainage rock. Sign posts. Bolting hardware. Locks. Shovels. Levels. Mounting brackets. Drills. Mixers. Trucks. Pads. Sign design. Sign Printing. Etc. etc. etc. For this Westsyde installation specifically I need to toss in a special shout to Zach, Sean, and Colin. These 3 did dozens and dozens of hours of prep work. In their own time, away from their families, just to align materials and equipment. Incredible.
Phase 1, installing the sleeves. It hailed 3 times on the team pouring concrete. It went from 15 to 2 degrees. But the whole group pushed through and got the concrete poured, sleeves installed and leveled, and capped the boxes.
Phase 2, April 16th. Installing signs & pads went off incredibly well, and a few hours of labor later, and *poof* Kamloops Disc Golfers have a new course to play!
Nearing the end of our story here. A few points left to make. Most importantly, is the shoutout to all the KDGC members and board members who put work in to make this happen.
Zach Bernier - KDGC maintenance director (installation, material prep, and plan details)
Colin McDaniel - KDGC Vice President (installation, material prep, and plan details)
Sean Lefebrve - previous KDGC maintenance director and current avid club member. (installation, material prep, and plan details)
Ben Laidlaw - KDGC special events director and massive new course advocate (Pushing the front of the proposal with the city, and installation of course)
Carrie Neal - KDGC Marketing Director (organizing messaging and promotion)
Brett Hanna - KDGC Fundraising Director (helping with install, signage, and promotion)
Thomas Griffin- KDGC President (helping with install, signage, and promotion)
Matt Lefebvre - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Craig Neal - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Melissa Constantine - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Wes Eccleston - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Tracy Anderson - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Clint Anderson - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Matt Marra - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Chai Ellis - Avid player and club member (installation of course)
Dan Coombs - Avid player and club member (logistics, tools, storage, materials)
Dylan Coombs - Avid player and club member (logistics, tools, storage, materials)
And all the club members who came before us for 20 years, paving the way!
It truly takes a community. A team. A Club! It’s not 1 person but many
It’s not fast, but a patient process. It’s about growing the sport.
About including more people in this incredible community.
And about putting the work in.
Last note on Westsyde, a personal favor. As with all of our courses, please represent the KDGC and Disc Golf well by respecting the local residents, being polite, being kind, and taking care of the course. Wait to play if other users are in the park. Have conversations. Grow the sport.
Perhaps this blog inspires or helps others push for courses in their local areas. That would be fantastic.
But my true goal is that it helps all of our KDGC members and non-club local players understand the effort and time these individuals have put in to give our entire Disc Golf community a new course. The people I acknowledged here, are the individuals that deserve the credit. They deserve applause. A high five on the course. A Thank you.
My last note to end on - and it is a big one - is an ask of our Disc Golf community. Westsyde is 1 out of 2 course installs we are doing this year. In the next 2 months, we are putting together the plan for our Dick Hart installation. This course is slated to be the biggest and most advanced course for Kamloops. We will need the help of our club, and any members who have time and resources to help. Please reach out. Please ask those not in the club, to become club members. It is with those resources we will grow our club and facilitate our next courses! #growthesport #KDGC #Discgolf
Cheers, (And thank you again to the people that made this vision real)