By Cole Parkinson
A new golf course may soon be coming to the Taber area.
And this golf course wouldn’t require clubs or golf balls as a pair of residents are looking to establish a disc golf course near the Taber Trout Pond.
At the Taber Recreation Board’s regular meeting held on Sept. 3, Willy Friesen and Johnny Thiessen were in front of the board making a pitch as to why they see the need to bring disc golf to the area.
“I recently learned about disc golf in June and I fell in love with it right away. I found out this is a big thing and people refer to it as frisbee golf. I’m a truck driver so I visit all sorts of different towns and to my amazement, 99 per cent of them are all for free. You can go play frisbee golf for free if you bring your own discs and normally, they are in a park somewhere but kept away from paths so if you throw a frisbee, it won’t hit any people,” explained Friesen. “What we’re trying to do is see if the Town of Taber would like to set up a disc golf course. I would like to set it up by the Trout Pond area. Further to the north area and I don’t know if you have any land in the coulees and tree areas because those areas are great for it. It won’t need a lot of maintenance, all it requires is a basket and T-pads. There will be a little bit of hand labour to cut down any trees that are dead along the way but usually, you try to keep the trees there. If we can have the Trout Pond area, if we could plant some trees along the way, it could look better for the course and be more technical as well.”
With limited work and financial commitments needed to get the course up and running, the group has already been looking at sponsors within the town and they say they have volunteers ready to go.
“If I make a few phone calls, I could have 20 workers available to help build this course. If it does get approved, there may be some landscaping like debris that is in the way and obviously some pilot holes for the baskets to be put in,” said Friesen. “If we do get approved, our plan is to get sponsored by businesses. A hole costs about $500 for the baskets and the T-pads would just be work, more or less. That would be one of the most quality baskets out there. I do already have some sponsors ready that have asked if they could sponsor some holes.”
Friesen also mentioned adding hole sponsor names to the T-pad would be something the group would want to do to recognize the financial help given.
As far as help from the town, Friesen did mention if they could help to drill the pilot holes that would be a benefit to the group but he also said if that was not a possibility, the volunteer base could do that with either owned equipment or they would look at renting the necessary tools.
On top of sponsors, the group have started exploring potential grants that are given to recreational developments.
“We’re hoping to get a grant for this as well. I know in Magrath, a guy put a disc golf course in there and he asked for a grant. Within a week, he had a $5,000 grant because it was a recreational thing,” continued Friesen.
He also explained that while a nine-hole course was a possibility, 18 holes would be a better option as it would bring people to the course.
“The benefit of an 18 hole course is it brings in more people. Just from experience, if I go trucking, if there’s a nine-hole course and an 18 hole course, my immediate one is the 18 hole,” added Friesen, who also mentioned the course could be finished in a quick amount of time. “If all goes well, the course could be set up in two weeks.”
Support from the Taber Trout Pond committee was also forwarded to the rec board.
“I did bring this to our Trout Pond committee at our last meeting along with the map and there was support at that level for it,” stated Dawn Phillips, director of recreation.
Friesen also stated he would be looking to purchase a number of discs from Prodigy Disc to giveaway on the first day the course opens as a way to get people involved.
Another possible location mentioned by Friesen was near town-owned land that was leased to the Tactical Paintball and Airsoft Association of Southern Alberta south of the Oldman River and west of Highway 864, near the M.D. of Taber Park.
Concerns raised by the board were around snakes in the Trout Pond area and potential fire hazards during the summer months.
“I’ve probably had 25 friends ask me about it this summer. People my age are absolutely in love with it apparently and they ask me all the time when they come to visit if we have a disc golf course. They’re super disappointed when I tell them no,” added board member Brett McCoy.
A motion to support their initiative and present to council at a future meeting was carried.
Rec board members Taber Councillors Garth Bekkering and Louie Tams, and M.D. of Taber Reeve Merrill Harris were absent from the meeting.