Inaugural CBU Open showcases campus disc golf course.
‘If you build it, he will come.’
That famous line from Ray Kinsella – played by Kevin Costner – in the 1989 classic Field of Dreams, although it is often misquoted (‘he’ is often replaced by ‘they’), would be an apt description for the growing success of an innovative recreation initiative on the Cape Breton University (CBU) campus.
Although it wasn’t in his head – like the one that encouraged Kinsella to construct a baseball diamond in his Iowa corn field – a voice, one could say, served as inspiration for Yann Artur.
The CBU Co-ordinator of Campus Recreation and Wellness – a position created by President David C. Dingwall – was tasked with carrying out his vision for the university to make the development of recreation and programming a “strategic priority.”
One of the main streams of development identified – along with non-competitive recreation, intramural sport leagues and club sports – was outdoor recreation.
“We believe that having a quality disc golf course at CBU will have a positive impact in our communities,” Artur says of creating a venue for the ever-growing sport – one that will not only benefit CBU, but also the broader Cape Breton community.
Including providing myriad opportunities for school trips, day camps, youth groups, older adults and community organizations – just to name a few – the CBU Disc Golf Course provides a recreational outlet for people of all ages and abilities, at a low cost.
“Everyone can play disc golf,” Artur offers.
There are relatively low maintenance and capital costs for the course builder; not to mention a minimal price tag for equipment purchases by the players, with discs (you need at least three) costing between $15 and $25 apiece.
When it comes to the disc variety – it is played much like traditional golf, although the goal is to throw a Frisbee®disc into a supported metal basket, not put a ball in a hole. A player tees off – just like on the links – and then take their next throw from where the previous one landed. The lowest score – or the person who takes the least amount of shots to complete the course – is the winner.
Although the CBU Disc Golf Course, which boasts 18 holes – along with two practice baskets located in front of campus residences, and a warm-up basket at the entrance – has been open for a while, it had its large-scale debut earlier this month, when it served as the venue for the inaugural CBU Open – an event on the Atlantic FlickLine Disc Golf Tour. The two-day, three-round event attracted more than 40 top disc golf players from across the Maritimes.
“It is a little hidden gem,” Ben Smith says of the venue, while heaping the same type of praise on the university and campus.
The owner of FlickLine Disc Golf – based in Pugwash, Nova Scotia – designed and constructed the course, the first of its kind on a Canadian university campus.
“Ninety per cent positive,” Smith says of the feedback, noting that there are always some “small issues” that players note about each course.
He adds that there are always “tweaks” to be made as part of an ongoing development and maintenance process.
“They are all returning,” Smith notes of this year’s players, which he offers is a “great indication” that the course is a top-notch one.
He adds, “Everyone was overwhelmingly satisfied.”
In outlining what the CBU course has to offer, Smith describes the landscape as “really quite unique,” which was key ingredient in helping to create a short and technical course that would challenge players.
He explains that the venue provides a variety of “unique sections,” whether it is deep woods – of both the soft and hard variety – or open spaces.
“And, you have to navigate the water tower,” Smith notes, which was something they also had to do during construction.
They utilized all the natural features of the CBU property – as is the case with disc golf course design – including dense woods, rocky areas and slopes.
The CBU disc golf course is one of only two in Canada – the other is located in the Yukon (Solstice) – accredited as a DiscGolfPark® by Discmania of Finland, one of the leaders in the sport. To gain that seal of approval, amongst other things, the disc golf course must have 18 baskets and provide a “challenging” experience for players.
But – like those playing the sport – the numbers are quickly increasing; Smith explains one course his company built in PEI soon will boast that same designation. And, during his conversation with CBU Athletics, he was taking a break from working on the construction of one in Newfoundland, which will become the fourth in Canada.
“It is awesome – it means that the sport is growing,” he says.
By "Corey LeBlanc"
For more information about the CBU Disc Golf Course, including how to book a chance to play, contact Yann Artur at Yann_Artur@cbu.ca