Disc golfer Chris Goldsmith performed admirably at the annual Lizard Range Disc Golf tournament in James White Park. Ezra Black/The Free Press

Disc golfers toss for charity

Montana resident Brian Bjortomt had the best score at the fourteenth annual Lizard Range Disc Golf tournament.

Bjortomt threw a 95, which is 15 under par, through 18 holes at the course in James White Park.

The local turf must agree with Bjortomt who won the tournament for the second year in a row, improving on last year’s score by seven points.

Bjortomt won a trophy and $355.

“Not too bad for playing frisbee for a day,” he said.

Bjortomt said he’s been traveling to Fernie to take part in the annual event for over ten years.

“The vibe up here is great,” he said. “The people are welcoming and when you get here, it’s just like a family reunion.”

Over 50 golfers participated in Saturday’s tournament.

Tournament director Serge Gosselin established the event in 2004 and it has grown every year since. Like many prominent disc golfers, Gosselin became interested in the sport after playing ultimate frisbee, a much more cardio intensive disc-based game. He and co-organizer Lisa Ritchat turned the annual tournament into a charity event. This year they raised over $1,000 for the Fernie Therapeutic Horse and Pony Club.

“I wanted to give back to the disc golf community so we decided to make it a charity event,” he said.

In disc golf, instead of using a ball and club, players attempt to throw a disc into an elevated metal basket in the fewest number of throws.

“It’s pretty similar to regular golf,” said participant Corey Lord. “It’s the same challenges and frustrations but its pretty much free to play anywhere you go and its incredibly addictive.”

Players use a variety of finely engineered discs to complete the task. Putting and mid-range discs are used for shorter distances while drivers can be thrown much farther. Each disc is given a flight rating that denotes its speed, gliding potential and turning habits.

While participants took the tournament seriously, a festive atmosphere prevailed as golfers leisurely toured the course.

“It’s about practice and patience,” said participant Chris Goldsmith.

“I like getting better and learning the sport plus its cheap and people all get along here,” said Brad Winslabe, who placed third in the Advanced Master category.

“At worst, it’s a walk in the park.”