CMHA Swift Current hosting disc golf tournament to raise funds for social program

Participants in the free clinic at the 2023 Spring Fling disc golf tournament in Swift Current.

By Matthew Liebenberg

A disc golf tournament for all skills levels and a free training clinic in Swift Current on May 4 will provide plenty of fun and raise funds for the local Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) branch.

The Spring Fling disc golf tournament is organized and hosted by CMHA Swift Current and funds raised will support the social programming offered by the branch.

CMHA Swift Current Executive Director Todd Vallee said this will be the third year that the organization is hosting a disc golf tournament.

“We grew from year one into year two, and we’re hoping to grow from year two to year three,” he said. “It’s by no means a massive tournament, but we’re experiencing natural growth with the tournament in both our players that register for the fun division as well as the competitive division. So we’re happy to help grow the sport in Swift Current.”

The decision to host a disc golf tournament as a means to raise funds for the organization grew from their own experience of the benefits of this activity.

“We had the idea about a disc golf tournament, as it’s a sport that we enjoy playing here with our social programming at CMHA,” he said. “There are a lot of links with mental health and good mental well-being. We really do enjoy that connection. There’s the physical activity and mental wellness connection. There’s the connection to community, as there’s a disc golf community here in Swift Current. There’s also the connection to nature. So we just felt it was a really natural fit to do something with the sport of disc golf.”

Disc golf has become an enjoyable part of the activities provided through the social programming at the CMHA Swift Current branch.

“We have some disc golfers that enjoy the sport outside of the times that we play during our social programming,” he said. “We find it’s very fitting for the social program that we have here at CMHA.”

He added that social program participants were already out on the disc golf course in Swift Current in April when the weather was mild and before winter returned briefly with some snow. Their intention will be to be back out there again now that spring appears to be here.

Funds raised by the Spring Fling disc golf tournament will help to support the activities provided to branch participants through the social program.

“It does take some funds to operate our social program,” he noted. “And because disc golf is an activity that we do within our social program, we would use the funds towards that. We are likely to try and hit up a disc golf course in another centre here in southwest Saskatchewan this year. We’ll use some of the funds for a trip out to another disc golf course to experience the sport at a different course as well.”

The 18-hole disc golf course in Swift Current is located along a section of the Chinook Parkway on the city’s south side. The first and 18th hole are located in Riverside Park, and the winding Swift Current Creek provides a scenic background for the remaining holes.

“There aren’t a whole lot of disc golf tournaments in and around Swift Current,” he said. “So we’re hopeful that people give our tournament a try and we’ve got some great prizes. We’ve got sponsors that have come on board this year. So there’s prizes for people to win, whether you’re disc golfing in the competitive division or the fun division. Even if you just sign up, we do have door prizes as well.”

An additional benefit is that the registration fee includes a lunch provided to participants after they complete their game.

“It’s another really cool aspect of this tournament,” he said. “We have a lunch provided by our vocational program here in Swift Current. So when you sign up, there will be some food for you after you finish the tournament, whether you’re in the fun division or in the competitive division.”

Participants in the fun division will complete nine holes and those entered for the competitive division will play the full 18-hole course.

“The competitive division is usually for people that have played in a tournament before or feel like their game is up to playing with more advanced disc golfers,” he said. “But if somebody really just wanted to give it a try and they feel like they have the performance or the stamina to do all 18 disc golf holes, they absolutely can enter the competitive division.”

The fun division is aimed at players of various skill levels and age, which makes this a family-friendly tournament for everyone to enjoy.

“We had disc golfers over the last few years as young as four or five years old and folks in their 70s as well,” he said. “The nine holes are not just like one through nine or 10 through 18. We take the closest holes. So it’s an easier walk for those that may be less mobile or not up for the entire walk.”

The main goal of the tournament is to offer a fun and enjoyable experience for participants, regardless of which division they are playing in.

“It’s really all about fun,” he said. “It’s about the camaraderie. It’s about the community. It’s about getting outside.”

Vallee felt another highlight of this event will be the free disc golf clinic offered before the start of the tournament.

“If you’re a rookie or a novice disc golfer looking for some tips or tricks or pointers, we are going to have some folks who take the sport a little more seriously to hand out some pointers at the clinic beforehand,” he said. “I know from speaking to some of the people that took in the clinic last year, they felt it was very helpful. It was really neat to have that one-on-one interaction and it’s that community aspect of disc golf. So we feel that’s a really cool part of our tournament.”

Many of last year’s participants have not played disc golf before and the clinic was therefore an opportunity to get familiar with the sport before the tournament.

“We also have discs available through the City that we will have at the tournament for people that don’t have their own discs,” he said. “So if somebody is thinking this seems cool, I’ve never tried disc golf, but they don’t want to maybe buy a starter set of discs, we can provide that as well.”

The free clinic will start at 1 p.m. on May 4 and will be about an hour long. The tournament will start at 2:30 p.m. and spectators are welcome.

“Come out and even hang around and check out the clinic to see what it’s all about,” he said. “You’ve got people that throw backhand, just like throwing a frisbee. There are a few folks that chuck a forehand as well. That’s really interesting to watch and understand. … This is definitely a fast-growing sport in our province. I really encourage people to come and check out what the sport of disc golf is all about.”

The registration fee for the tournament is $40 per player. Registration will remain open until the day of the tournament, but for planning purposes it is preferred if registration is done before May 4. Call 306-778-2440 to register.