Disc golfers aiming for fun at nationals

Sonya Ewaniuk and Shane Quesnel are ready for the challenge that faces them at the Canadian National Disc Golf championship

Sonya Ewaniuk of Penticton gets some practice in this week in preparation for the Canadian National Disc Golf Championships taking place June 19-21 in Vancouver. Joining her will be another local competitor

Sonya Ewaniuk of Penticton gets some practice in this week in preparation for the Canadian National Disc Golf Championships taking place June 19-21 in Vancouver. Joining her will be another local competitor

After more than 10 years playing disc golf, Sonya Ewaniuk and Shane Quesnel are getting their first taste of national championship play.

The founding members of the Penticton Disc Golf Club will be in Vancouver June 19-21 for the 2015 Canadian National Disc Golf championship. They are competing in the women’s and men’s amateur advanced divisions.

“I am really excited to get to play against some of the best women in B.C. and Canada,” said Ewaniuk in a club statement. “Even though we are competing against each other, we all become really good friends over the duration of a  tournament like this. It will be lots of fun.”

Ewaniuk is competing in a field of four, including herself, while Quesnel is up against 49 others. Quesnel, an even-par player depending on the course, said competing in the nationals is going to be great.

“No matter what, it’s going to be a good experience,” said Quesnel, 33, who has played for 16 years. “I haven’t played in this category with that many competitors. They are really good. It will be really good to see where I’m at and where I could use improvement. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”

Ewaniuk has been playing for 12 years and has competed in tournaments all over western Canada and the U.S. She is hoping to finish first or second. Usually scoring five over par at Penticton’s Three Blind Mice course, the Albertan said her score will depend on the course.

“I look forward to the challenge, I look forward to the camaraderie,” she said. “There is such a great attitude and atmosphere around disc golf events. I’m just really excited to see people I haven’t seen in a few years.”

Quesnel is targeting a top-25 finish, but he said it’s going to be very challenging. Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, but instead of hitting a ball with a club, disc golfers throw special golf discs into catcher baskets. The goal is to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes/throws as possible.

Ewankiuk and Quesnel didn’t have to qualify for the nationals as Quesnel said it’s an open event and “it’s more of just being lucky to get a spot.”

There are 192 disc golfers registered to compete for national titles in 14 divisions. The tournament will be played on five different disc golf courses in the Lower Mainland area.

Ewankiuk loves disc golf as she gets great exercise from it and can play any time of day. She also said it’s inexpensive with the majority of courses being free to play on. Plus, anybody can play. Quesnel has played with his three year old daughter.

“It’s just a fun game to play and not spending a lot of money,” he said. “It’s pretty inclusive that way.

Quesnel never knew what the game was until a friend suggested they try.

“From day one I was just hooked,” he said. “I got a birdie. Threw pretty decently. It kind of fell into addiction after that.”

As fun as it is, the sport has its challenges.

“For anybody who has played regular golf and you are sitting there on the putting green and that hole looks so easy to putt up to, it’s similar with the discs,” said Ewaniuk. “Everything comes into play, there is wind. The mental game you are always playing with your self. You can hit those chains and it just decides to bounce out. It can be frustrating but, with practice you can get good at it.”

PDGC is a non-profit society dedicated to promoting and growing the sport in Penticton. The PDGC is currently recruiting new members of all levels, including beginners, to join every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Three Blind Mice Disc Golf Course. There is no cost to play. Spare discs are always available for new players wanting to give disc golf a try.

For more information, please contact PDGC president Shawn Black at 250-328-0854 or email black71@telus.net.

PDGC is also on Facebook with 106 members listed.