Hart Memorial course celebrates 20 years of disc golf

Local association seeks additional playing areas

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Twenty years ago, two brothers brought a new sport to Salt Spring Island, which has grown in popularity ever since.

In October 1998, brothers Jeremiah and Joshua Hart designed and built the Hart Memorial Disc Golf Course in Mouat Park. The brothers were approached by then-Parks and Recreation coordinator Tony Hume with the idea earlier in the year and they immediately jumped on board. By October, the course was open for business. Since then, the sport has grown exponentially on the island, with around 20 private courses in backyards around the island and a new pay-to-play course intermingled with the fairways at the Salt Spring Island Golf Course.

To celebrate the last 20 years of disc golf on the island, the Salt Spring Disc Golf Association hosted a anniversary tournament on Saturday, Oct. 13. The tournament was a non-competitive celebration of the sport on Salt Spring.

“The idea behind it is just to acknowledge that we’ve had this really lovely community activity available to everyone for the last 20 years,” Jeremiah Hart said. “I just wanted to tip my hat to it.”

The course was named after the Harts’ father, Paul, who passed away in July 1998 from a heart attack while on the ferry bound for Fulford Harbour. Paul Hart was considered the “King of the South End” and was active in the community as an woodworker who built many beautiful benches on the island.

“The ongoing joke that we have is that he never actually played disc golf, and yet we dedicated a course to him,” Hart said. “More importantly he was a pillar of the community . . . He was a woodworker and you really can’t go more than a couple hundred feet in any direction on Salt Spring before bumping into a fence or a beautiful bench or a table, something that he has created.”

The sport has grown from two brothers in 1998 to hundreds of players today. The SSDG Facebook page currently has 358 members, many of whom play regularly.

The course meanders through the trees in Mouat Park, giving players a short and technically challenging style of play. Though the new area at the golf course has helped local players improve their game, Hart said there is still a need for additional courses on Salt Spring.

SSDG has approached PARC about the possibility of a new disc golf course on the island. PARC has expressed interest in it and will be working with the group to see if a feasible piece of land can be found.

For more on this story, see the October 17, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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