St. Thomas provides some great opportunities to get outside and get active all year round. Disc Golf provides one of these opportunities!
The sport originated in California but found a home here in the 1980's beginning with a tournament in 1982. While the tournament was a little makeshift using whiskey barrels instead of regulation baskets, the sport found a permanent location at V.A. Barrie Park three years later.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, Disc Golf is similar to traditional golf but a "Frisbee-like" disk replaces the ball and clubs. A metal basket replaces the holes. A major advantage of Disc Golf is that you can play year round.
Set in a lush valley along Kettle Creek on the edge of St. Thomas, V.A. Barrie is a park dedicated to Disc Golf, and does a fantastic job of using every square inch of available land. The layout is simple, as you travel up on side of the valley and down the other, but it is a complex course. A great mix of forehand and backhand shots are needed to succeed here, and all kinds of hazards need to be avoided to win your round. The course is a full 18 holes with a practice basket. Regarded as a par-3 for the pros the course comes in at 5,800 feet.
Every course has a gem, and the highlight of this beautiful course is the spectacular ninth hole. It overlooks the Barrie course from the hill at the Elgin County Court House, stretching over 600 feet downhill from tee to basket.
If the sport peeks your interest, read up more about its history and roots in St. Thomas by visiting the St. Thomas Disc Sports Club.
Last summer we met up with Martin Hendel, one of the top-ranked disc golfers in the world, at V.A. Barrie Park in St. Thomas to learn some secrets of the sport.