Are you searching for a unique and exhilarating outdoor experience that combines the joys of nature with the excitement of a competitive sport? Look no further than disc golf, an increasingly popular activity captivating enthusiasts everywhere.

Disc golf offers a refreshing twist on traditional golf, swapping clubs and balls for specialized flying discs and open-air courses.

It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world. There is no contact, and it’s affordable. It’s also easy to learn, but difficult to master.

Brian Hughes is helping increase the visibility of the sport. The transplanted Torontonian now calls Brockville home and he’s created several Flyboy Canada courses around the area. There are even two island courses that adventurous kayakers can check out on Refugee and Harvey Islands, just off the city’s shoreline.

“Figure out if you like going for a walk, and throwing a disc from where you’re standing into a basket,” he says on trying the sport. “If the sounds of the chains clanging when you get the disc in the basket doesn’t do it for you, nothing will.”

He says the sport really took off during COVID when people were looking for things to do, or sports to play, that could accommodate social distancing.

It’s a progressive sport or a challenge within yourself, Hughes says. Courses can be played in thirty minutes to a couple of hours.

Disc golf involves navigating a course from start to finish in the fewest number of throws. Players use specialized flying discs to complete each hole. These discs come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for specific distances and flight patterns, offering players a versatile range of options to tackle the challenges of the course.

Players can fill their bag – or a “really cool knapsack” — with three or four different discs to start: a fairway driver, a midrange disc and an approach and putt disc. Add a good pair of shoes and a player is set for less than the price of one golf club. It’s always good to have some essentials as well, like a water bottle, a towel, and especially a retriever stick for those discs that go astray – into the water or get stuck in a tree. It happens!

Locations are accessible through an app, With over 15,000 courses to choose from, the options are endless, including courses from Cornwall to Quinte West. To find the par on the course, some are marked on the links, but others are found through the app.

One of the most appealing aspects of disc golf is its accessibility to players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a casual player, the game is competitive and recreational. Each course presents its own set of obstacles, from dense forests and rolling hills to narrow fairways and water hazards, providing players with a diverse and exciting playing experience.

Disc golf courses are often set within sprawling parks, wooded areas, or picturesque landscapes, offering players a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature while playing with friends or family. The surroundings and fresh air add an extra layer of enjoyment to the game, making it an ideal activity for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of life.

One of the most rewarding aspects of disc golf is the sense of community it fosters among players. Whether you’re playing a fun round with friends or participating in a competitive tournament, disc golf brings people together in a spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Many courses host regular events and leagues, providing players with opportunities to connect with fellow enthusiasts, share tips and strategies, and forge lasting friendships.

What is the appeal?

“What I love is making it fly really nicely,” Hughes says about launching a disc. “It’s like the first time you make a paper airplane. You want it to fly. You don’t want it to dive bomb into the ground. But when you put some care into it and it does fly and it goes really far, that’s what the sport is really all about. You’re in control and have that desire to do better … and it’s the thrill.”

If you have never played before but would enjoy giving it a try, Hughes recommends just picking a spot and trying to hit the basket. Go back the next day and try to do it better.

“The person who is going to stay with disc golf has one shot the whole day that they think about that night when they go to bed,” he says. “It really comes down to that one moment – if it stays with you, then you’re hooked.”

So how do you start?

“You grab a disc, go out to the woods and throw it,” Hughes says. “There really isn’t anything more than that. We call it taking a hike with a purpose.”

Appointments can be made to visit his shop, 1000 Islands Disc Golf in Brockville at 1640 California Ave, (inside Henderson Printing). He offers tutorials and there is lots of gear to choose from. If potential players want to drop by on a Saturday, he’ll offer free tips and the ability to toss a disc around on the front yard. A membership will allow players to use the library of discs to try for two weeks before purchasing.

“That’s the main reason for that program,” he says, “so people are not buying a bunch of discs that are not right for them … I’m happy we have a store, it’s a great meeting place.”

Disc golf is a sport that promotes inclusivity and diversity, welcoming players of all backgrounds and abilities to join in the fun. There’s always room on the course for anyone eager to experience the thrill of throwing discs and chasing birdies.

Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to disc golf and eager to give it a try, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1.     Choose the right discs: Invest in a set of beginner-friendly discs, including a driver, mid-range, and putter, to cover various distances and shot types.
  2.     Practice your throws: Spend time honing your throwing technique, including backhand, forehand, and overhead throws, to improve accuracy and distance control.
  3.     Learn the course: Familiarize yourself with the layout of the course, including the location of tee pads, baskets, and potential hazards, to develop a strategic game plan.
  4.     Stay patient and have fun: Remember that Disc Golf is as much about enjoying the outdoors and the company of fellow players as it is about competing. Don’t get discouraged by the occasional errant throw, and focus on having fun along the way.

Here are a few popular courses to get started

Flyboy Canada One: City green space surrounding the Brackenreid Baseball field. First hole/entrance is 197 Bartholomew St., Brockville. There is no fee to play and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to play 19 baskets. Wear good shoes – sneakers, hiking shoes, golf shoes. Please don’t wear sandals or Crocs; 19-hole layout. There are also Flyboy Canada Two, Three and Four courses. Email for more info.

Maitland Woods: 105 E McLean Blvd, Brockville. Nestled within a picturesque hardwood forest, this course offers a welcoming introduction for beginners while also captivating seasoned players with enticing chances for hole-in-one success and the complexities of making strategic choices and executing precise, skillful shots; 11 holes.

Paladins Disc Golf Course (on the grounds of the Royal Military College) 13 General Crerar Crescent, Kingston, 9- and 5-hole layouts.

Riverside West Disc Golf Course, 271-281 N Park St, Belleville, 9- and 18-hole courses. 

Ferguson Forest Centre, Kemptville –  275 44, kemptville. 18 holes through mowed meadow and wooded forest. Dogs on leash welcome and there’s a huge dog park by the start of the course.

Brockville IslandsRefugee Island and Harvey Island courses are unique very short wooded island courses designed for Kayakers/Paddlers for whom it is free to play. All motorized vehicles of any kind must pay dockage fees. These are novelty courses and not intended as anything more than something to do while you take in the view of the islands.

Private (paid courses)

Gunpowder Disc Golf & Country Club – Disc golf fits the vibe of this Springfield Farm — a slow farm environmental oasis. Leave only footprints, as the course is transportable, moved during planting season, and no bee or bird will be disrupted at any time during play.  As a private small family farm, the Finbarr family puts their environment and farm work first. The course will be only open at certain times. Please email or call 613-528-0083 to book your tee time. Check link for pay to play pricing.

County Disk Golf- Black Prince Winery – Prince Edward County: This course is 800 meters in length with 9 par-3 holes, located on the grounds of Black Prince Winery, centrally located in Picton. Accessible by walking or bicycle via the Millennium Trail. The course is geared to recreational players and is family-friendly. Beginners are welcome. Check website for current pricing. Pay by the round, plus daily rate and disc rental also available.

Ettyville Super Spin Disc Golf Club – Prescott-Russell, located at 3351 Ettyville Rd, Bourget, this course offers two 18-hole courses. Varying length: 7818 ft. – 11070 ft. Private course, contact John Pytel Please use the entrance in front of the white coverall building and park on the left side as you drive up. The Pytel family farm is the yellow house east of the white coverall building. Check link for current pay to play pricing.

Disc golf offers a unique and exhilarating outdoor experience that combines the thrill of competition with the tranquility of nature. The sport welcomes players of all ages and abilities to join in the fun and excitement. So, grab your discs, head out to the nearest course, and discover why disc golf is the perfect blend of leisure and adventure.

The information provided here is current at the time of publication and is subject to change. Please check websites for listings of upcoming events, costs, availability and weather conditions that may affect operations or trails.