The discs were flying all weekend at the first ever disc golf tournament at Garibaldi Springs Golf Course and if organizers and competitors have their way, it won’t be the last.
Squamish Strikes Back was the sixth stop on the British Columbia Disc Sports winter tour and over 50 competitors from all over the province traveled to town.
Garibaldi Springs was transformed into one of the more unique disc golf courses in the province, with 18 baskets placed around the large piece of land. Coquitlam’s Dave Ross won the event on Saturday (Dec. 20), shooting a 53 on both rounds for a score of 106. Ross has played in BC for decades and said the Squamish course was special.
“The tournament was awesome,” he said. “The facility here and the course is better than anything I’ve played on in BC in 25 years. Just the variety on the course with all the trees, water and elevation along with having the clubhouse and hotel right here makes me think like there is the potential to have a world class course or two here.”
Ross edged out Tsawwassen’s Dave Brown and Vancouver’s Stephen Crichton in the pro open category. Squamish’s Dax Braby was the top local competitor in the division, with a score of 119 (58 and 61) and tied for fifth place overall.
Ross said limiting his errors led him to the win.
“I stayed out of the water and consistently shot pretty well,” he said. “I didn’t get into a lot of trouble like some of the guys, just kept it on the fairway and made my putts.”
Pro open competitors threw from different tee boxes than all the other divisions at the event. Other winners included: Vancouver’s Brendan Armstrong (amateur advanced men), Sarah Breau from Burnaby (amateur intermediate women), Victoria’s Tara Lynch (amateur advanced women), Port Coquitlam’s Vito Michelangelo (amateur advanced master), Vancouver’s Lanze Starr (amateur intermediate men) and Darrel Thrasher (open masters men).
Squamish competitors included: Briana Ainsley (second in amateur advanced women), Michelle Kruger (second in amateur intermediate women) and Erik Wendland (ninth in amateur intermediate men).
Tournament director Iain Warren from Whistler said it was a great debut at Garibaldi Springs.
“I think it went really well and I know the pro men especially enjoyed the distance of the holes,” he said. “It’s a challenging course and very technical. There are long holes and the size of the fairways are huge.”
He said he’d like some sort of presence for the sport at Garibaldi Springs.
“We’d love some sort of permanent layout and could even run a course side by side with regular golf and footgolf they have going on here,” he said. “The challenge is if the owner is willing to make the investment. It would be a pay to play and I know I had people in my group tell me they would rather come here and pay rather than Grouse Mountain. It’s just more convenient here with the clubhouse and all the existing facilities.”
Ross agreed with Warren on the potential popularity of the course.
“I would come here once a month at least and if you asked everybody here I think you’d get the same response,” he said. “With this course Squamish could produce some of the top players in the world and I think that within five years you’d see some young kids get really good really fast.”
Warren said Squamish is growing as a disc golf destination with two courses in Brackendale and one at the new Legacy Park on Raven Lane.
“I’ve been down here every weekend for the last month to play out here,” he said.
He said he’d like to bring a summer and winter event to Garibaldi Springs and added that there was talk of applying for Squamish to become one of the three spots for the Canadian Nationals event happening this summer.
“I think the opportunity is there and we’d like to move it up here – it’s a great facility,” he said.
The event also included a fun doubles event on Sunday (Dec. 21) that drew around 20 competitors.
The next stop on the winter tour is in Victoria in the New Year. For more information on the sport, visit www.discbc.com.