Golf without a green: Disc golf becoming popular winter sport on P.E.I.
Sport is well-suited for play during COVID-19
Skiing, hockey and curling might leap to mind when thinking about winter sports.
But some Islanders say disc golf is a good sport for the winter — especially when people are worried about COVID-19.
Disc golf is perfect for physical distancing, says Jacob Smith, a Disc Golf P.E.I. board member.
"We're outside first of all so you can easily distance yourself," he said. "Groups that come out usually go out in four or five. There is lots of space."
Those tossing discs are already given space so no one gets hit, and people are still able to chat while staying two metres apart, Smith said.
"Even if you are throwing your disc, which is very unlikely, in the same spot someone else is, you are still able to keep that distance," he said.
The sport has grown over the summer and that popularity is continuing into the winter.
"Just as many people like to come out in summertime in the winter time," Smith said, adding that he tries to play once a week.
There were about 30-40 people playing at the Huck It disc golf course, in Middleton, P.E.I., on Saturday afternoon.
Winter disc golf "has taken off" over the past three years, said Charles McCardle, owner of Huck It.
"It's only getting better," he said. "The diehards are still here every day."
McCardle said it's easier to maintain the 18-hole course in the winter.
"In the summer you have to cut the grass and do other maintenance," he said. "In the winter time it is pretty smooth sailing."
He shovels off the concrete pads and salts them so players have a proper place to tee off.
This winter he is hoping to get more young people into the sport. Anyone under 12 can play the course for free, McCardle said.
Lysiane Soucy has played disc golf for the past three years, but mainly played Ultimate before the pandemic hit.
In Ultimate, teammates try to toss a disc to each other until they score a goal in a specified end zone, with the other team trying to intercept.
"I started playing Ultimate Frisbee and then with COVID starting and getting a little older disc golf is a little easier on the body," she said.
Soucy plays year round and has some tips for those who want to play in the winter.
"You need to have more equipment in the winter, good boots, and I always bring the heat warmers that I put in my mittens so your hands … stay warm even if you need to take it off to throw the disc."
When Soucy started playing it was only her and one other woman playing disc golf. Over the summer more women joined, about 10 of them would go to league nights, Soucy said.
"It's definitely growing and I hope to see more women out in the future," she said. "It's a sport that is going to challenge you on different levels, but when you start getting better you really get addicted to it."