Why did we build a disc golf course on Prince Edward Island?
By Bill Best, owner of Hillcrest Farm
During the early fall of 2009, I flew to Alberta to visit our son Bob who was doing an internship in family medicine in British Columbia. At the time of my visit, he was working in a small town for rural family practice. Prior to my visit, I had decided that I wanted to try this game of disc golf that Bob was so keen on. Bob had played on a few courses in BC and other provinces and he was enthralled by the game.
We went to the local private/public course at 10:00 a.m. We played most of the day, got rained upon, got snowed on, were tired at the end of the day and while walking back to our car, two large nasty dogs chased us!
That evening Bob and I were discussing the day’s events over supper. I stated that it was a decent game, allowed a nice time to interact with family, was good exercise, with nice fresh air and, was kind of fun, but: the course had few signs such that although you knew where you were teeing off, often you were not sure where the correct basket was; and I thought the baskets were quite unique (a cow head skeleton, a car bumper, a painted stump, a wind chime, etc) there seemed to be no real end to the game as apparently there were hidden holes that were not obvious where they were; we played 30-some holes!
All in all, it was a memorable day out for the very low cost of $10 each.
As the discussion progressed I mentioned that I thought we could build a nicer course on P.E.I. We have a 135 acre farm in the hills of Bonshaw P.E.I. and the 40 – 50 acres of hilly woodland with a brook through it were underutilized and seldom visited.
Well, that comment led to the idea of a disc golf course at our farm on P.E.I. and the rest, as they say, is history.
Unbeknown to me at the time was the fact that there were 2 – 3 disc golf courses already on P.E.I. with one only a few miles from the farm that I drive by twice each day and did not even know existed!
In November 2009 my wife Mary and I purposely walked the wooded area on the farm to plan the disc golf course’s various holes. My initial thought was hole # 1 would start near “No Man’s Land” field and run in the woods along “Line Field” in an east to west direction. From there I had no idea where the tee for hole # 2 would go – so…
I went to the internet and searched under “disc golf course designers’ and came up with a website that listed various course designers and their credentials to some degree. To make a long story short, one of the designers I contacted was John Houck of Austin Texas, who had over 100 courses under his belt that he had designed or co-designed. After some negotiations we came to a financial agreement where he was hired as our course designer.
In December 2009 John Houck made his first of 4 designing visits to Hillcrest Farm Disc Golf course in Bonshaw, P.E.I. I knew that I knew nothing about designing a disc golf course after playing one game, but I did not even begin to know what skill it takes to design a championship course. John Houck is the man who knows how to do that.
After John’s visit in December 2009, we contacted Harry Annear of Kings County Construction in Montague P.E.I. Harry has expertise in clearing blueberry land and in building traditional golf courses. Harry dispatched Carl Pye with his gigantic chipper machine (an excavator with a hydraulic operated chipper at the end of the boom) to see what it could do to create some fairways. Carl had three goes on the course in 2010 and 2011, and completed all his work in June 2011.