Edmonton disc golf league driving more women to play

Jo Henderson has been playing disc golf for more than a decade.

She played so much she eventually started competing at a professional level. But as her skill grew there was always something missing when she went out for a game.

Other women.

After showing up to a tournament in October and seeing she was the only woman on the roster, Henderson decided to do something.

She teamed up with the Edmonton Disc Golf Association and started a women’s league.

“So at the very beginning, we were thinking maybe around five, 10, 15 women would be coming out to this thing,” Henderson said.

“I think when we started it was around 50. And now we’re at 60 women here at Rundle Park.”

Some members of Edmonton’s women’s disc golf league. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

The rules of disc golf are similar to golf — minus the tee times — but instead of knocking a ball toward a hole, players toss discs at targets.

The 18-target Rundle Park course, with the North Saskatchewan River as a backdrop, has tree-lined fairways, elevation changes and some water hazards.

‘Such a nice escape’

The women’s group, which meets Wednesday nights at the northeast Edmonton park, has continued to meet and grow, even during the pandemic.

“A lot of women say it’s such a nice escape from being a mom,” Henderson said.

“A lot of women say that it’s such a nice way to make friends during COVID and to find refuge in exercise and in the outdoors while we’re all stuck at home.”

Vicky Yeung started out in ultimate, a team sport using a Frisbee. When COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, she jumped to disc golf.

Vicky Yeung gets ready to let the disc fly at the Rundle Park disc golf course. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

She went from playing with her family to forming another family of women.

“A lot of them have been introduced to disc golf by males in their lives, either their husbands or friends or siblings,” Yeung said.

“But now they’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to play with other women all together or have kind of their own league.”

From strangers to friends to matching jerseys, the group has grown and grown closer.

They enjoyed playing so much they got team jerseys. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)

“I think what’s been really good is you can kind of see the friendships develop. People who might have signed up on their own as just a way to get out. Some folks sign up with some friends as a kind of activity to do together, but then you see those groups mixing,” Yeung said.

Tee-off is on Wednesday nights at Rundle Park and all women are welcome.

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