Let me take you on a bit of a walk.
Most everyone would agree that we live in a very interesting time in history. There are at least a dozen cliches we can make. Like, 'the times they are a changin’, and 'the more things change the more they stay the same', etc, etc… But there is something fundamentally different now. We have enough of everything on this earth to provide for all, but as we navigate our way one question always seems to go unanswered and that question is, ‘how much is enough?’.
The closest I’ve been to seeing this question answered happens when I walk the dogs. Each day, three times a day, someone in our household takes the dogs for a walk. We are lucky enough to live close to several paths that wind their way through the forest and straddle a shoreline. You can walk for hours in one direction and walk for days in the other. No walk is ever the same. Each hour has different sunlight, the trees sway and dance to each new wind, the birds, bugs, and critters all synchronize at their own hidden cues. The thing that gets me every time about those walks are the dogs. Each time we leave, they are completely full with anticipation and jubilation on the prospect of going somewhere we go every single day. They hit the path with fervor and concentration and they go about inspecting the grounds with diligence and a thoroughness that is unmatched by others. No matter which point we decide to turn around on any given walk, they turn on their heels with a renewed excitement about the journey home that never ceases to amaze me. Every walk is the perfect walk to them. Why do we struggle so much when the best teachers in the world show us what contentment looks like 3 times a day?
All of that is, at best, an odd introduction to a new course, but it is an introduction all the same. The newest course that Flickline is lucky enough to have helped create is the Petitcodiac Future Forest Course. This is a lovely, beginner friendly course located in Maple Street Park in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick. It is a Future Forest course because we made a simple design that uses select harvest techniques and natural mulch tee pads to create a course and a forest that will grow more healthy over time. It isn’t designed with big tournaments or crowds in mind, but instead it is focused on the healthy amount of players who will come here and enjoy themselves. It is meant to be simple, but still capable of changing people's lives.
A lot of places now have very robust disc golf communities where courses are trying hard to up their game. Players can choose the type of course they want to play on any particular day and it’s wonderful. However there are still a lot of places getting their first course ever and people in those towns don’t yet realize that their lives will be changed. Petitcodiac is now just starting their adventure.
Fortunately for Flickline one of our founding fathers work in Petitcodiac and because of that, we have had our eye on this particular property for quite some time. Back in 2018 or so, we actually built a pop up course here and invited students from the high school to come try it out. There was even an ace that day and since then we have hoped that a part of this park could be home to disc golf. Eventually a small group of committed citizens reached out and we took all the steps necessary to get a course built here. As always, it's that small group of people who change the world.
Opening day was a team effort. Lots of the local players from close by made the trip and 24 rounds were recorded on Udisc. The Flickline crew was there to guide people along. The biggest takeaway was how many families stopped in and tried it. We gave away 30 discs to new players and we left with the feeling that some people ‘got it’ and will certainly be back.
Maple street park, where the course is located, is the perfect blend of community space and healthy options. There are walking trails, community gardens, an outdoor rink, shed, river access, and now a disc golf course. It is lovely to see that our game is now firmly woven into the fabric of things that can build community. Lots of us knew it was possible, but now we get to experience it.
Simple courses like this one are sometimes the best thing that can happen to a place. It gets people interacting with nature in a way that they might not identify and if disc golf really takes off, there is room to grow. Courses like these remind me that we can take special care to keep things in a more natural state. There are still plenty of wild mushrooms on site and we left the shade canopy in tact throughout the course. A lot of disc golfers dream of epic par 5s that wind through the forest near the river but every once in a while it is simple little design with great shapes, rough ground, and strategically placed basket that changes someones life for the better.
Our game (and industry) is growing and with it comes wonderful new opportunities and a higher standard for building. It is important to recognize that sometimes building community means celebrating small victories and simple steps. Sometimes a forest course is enough to change lives for the better and we are happy to be in a place where we can be a part of that.