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Council votes to make Langholm Park disc golf course permanent

Amenity started with Home Depot buckets in trees gets permanent status
St. Albert resident Kevin Kiesman gets in a practice round at the Langholm Park Disc Golf Course on Friday, June 14. JACK FARRELL/St. Albert Gazette

The Langholm Park disc golf course, which began four years ago as a bunch of Home Depot buckets hung in trees by a dedicated resident, will now become St. Albert's second permanent course following a council vote on June 18.

The course has been considered a temporary fixture for the past few years while the city constructed a permanent 18-hole course in Kingswood Park. However, a council motion last summer asked administration to study the feasibility of also having a smaller, nine-hole, beginner-focused course such as the one at Langholm Park, and that study was presented to council earlier this month recommending Langholm be made permanent.

Following a unanimous vote on Tuesday, city staff will have a budget of $94,000, 30 per cent of which is contingency funding, to use towards slightly redesigning the course as it exists today. Besides the minor redesign, the project's budget will also cover the installation of concrete tee-pads, where disc golfers stand to make their first throw on each hole.

Langholm Park regulars Nick Legault, Jeremy Power, and Kevin Tooling told the Gazette they are thrilled with council's decision to make the course a permanent, four-season fixture.

Legault, the St. Albert resident who created the Langholm course four years ago by hanging some buckets in trees for golfers to shoot at, said “it's very exciting” that Langholm will become a permanent amenity.

“It has been a journey,” he said. “It has been great to see kind of how much the community has been using the course and getting an option to either try the sport or even practise it on a regular basis and making good use of the park space.”

He said the number of golfers playing at Langholm is “far beyond” what he was expecting when he first put the buckets up, and he has been pleased to see the course has become not just a regular stop for disc golfers, but also a recreational activity for schools, other sports teams, and families.

“It has been years in the making,” Legault said. “I'm really glad that [council] made that decision to try it [in 2021] — it was something that could have failed, but it was successful, so I think it's a great thing that they can highlight and it's another amenity they can add onto the list that St. Albert offers.” 

For Power, the Langholm Park course is what got him into the sport back in 2021, and he “fell head over heels with it.”

“I got right down into it pretty deep,” Power said, explaining he has logged over 200 rounds at the Langholm course. “Now at this point I'm three years in, and I've joined a league, joined the Professional Disc Golf Association, compete in tournaments, [and] I started a podcast and we're 30 episodes deep.”

“Having Langholm permanent is great because it's where I started. It's a nice little course that's very good to introduce anybody to the sport, but for people who have gotten a little more experience, it gives them the ability to still have a challenge and play the game.”

Another benefit of making the Langholm course permanent, Tooling saidis because the course attracts players from throughout the region. Tooling himself is a resident of west Edmonton.

“Because of the fact that most of the courses that are like, the big championship courses for us, are Rundle and Hermitage, it's a bit out of the way for me to drive 25 minutes to get to the other side of the city, so I like going to Langholm because it's kind of close to my house,” Tooling said. “It's a great little course, and it's perfect because even when I go there to play on my own, I love seeing families trying the sport out and having fun, because that's what it's all about, right?”

Tooling, who estimated he has played 30 or more rounds at Langholm over the past couple of years, also said that despite Langholm being considered a beginner course, it still provides a challenge for more experienced players.

“It gives me challenging shots,” he said. “It's so much fun for me.”

Council voted make Langholm a permanent course on consent, meaning there was no debate, although several councillors noted during a committee of the whole meeting earlier this month that having a second permanent course in St. Albert would help meet community demand.

“The project would also consider minor landscaping improvements and remediation of existing damage,” an administrative report to council explains.

“In addition to the capital cost and associated life cycle related long-term costs, permanent operation of this course will require approximately $1,000 annually that will be built into the 2025 budget through a base budget adjustment.”

Data collected by UDisc, an app that many disc golfers use to keep track of their scores and to navigate courses while playing, shows over 13,700 rounds of disc golf have been played at St. Albert's courses dating back to 2020, despite the Kingswood Park course only opening last summer.

“It's something that's growing in popularity — not quite as much as pickleball maybe — but certainly a lot, and I think this will add another benefit to our residents,” Coun. Ken MacKay said.

“I'm really happy this is moving forward and it wasn't just closed when we discussed it a year ago,” said Coun. Sheena Hughes.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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