The Rundle Park Disc Golf Course was installed in 1980 by a Minnesota company called “Saucer Golf”. The “Saucer cones” demanded precision putting as you had to hit the 18 inch cone dead in the middle to get your disc to deflect down into the basket to make your putt. As far as anyone knows, Rundle saw casual play only for the first 17 or so years of its existence. Thankfully the history of disc golf in Edmonton and Alberta becomes a little less murky starting in 1998.
1998 saw the running of the first ever River City Open which was renamed the following year to, what we are more familiar with now, the River City Cup. The tradition of the River City Cup has continued to hold strong with tournaments being held every year in the month of July since. The River City Open could be seen as a catalyst to the popularity boom of disc golf in the province of Alberta.
1999 started off early with the first running of the charity Ice Bowl event in Edmonton. With disc golf fever in the air the formation and inaugural running of the Alberta Disc Golf Tour took place with events in Edmonton, Calgary, Canmore and Fernie B.C.
2001 is probably the most important year for disc golf in Edmonton as it saw the formation of the provincially registered not-for-profit Edmonton Disc Golf Association (EDGA) tasked with promoting and creating opportunities & activities for the public to discover and enjoy the sport of disc golf in Edmonton and its surrounding communities. A task that remains active even 10 years later with an entirely new generation of disc golfers at the helm. In addition to the formation of EDGA, the then president, Steve Mallett designed and installed a 27-hole course at the Lily Lake Resort near Bon Accord, about 30 minutes north of Edmonton, in 2000. The course was the site of the 2001 Canadian Disc Golf Championship, which was won by Mark Dakiv who beat Steve in a sudden-death playoff. The mid-week PDGA-sanctioned tournament, held in conjunction with Ultimate Nationals (held in Edmonton the following weekend) featured players from Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario, Spokane WA, Florida, and New Zealand. The course is now defunct, becoming un-used when resort ownership attempted to enforce an unpopular (and very pricy) pay-to-play policy.
2003 began with such excitement as Greg DeGreef, the then course development officer of EDGA, comes through for the club and gains permission from the City of Edmonton to upgrade Rundle Park Disc Golf Course to a full 18 baskets. This full expansion was unfortunately short lived as 3 of the 9 new baskets installed in July had to be removed a month later due to complaints by area residents. It would take 7 long years before Rundle Park would get a full 18-basket layout once more.
In 2005 Craig Burrows-Johnson and Steve Mallett co-designed a long and extremely challenging 18-basket course in Wetaskiwin for the Seniors Games. The course has hosted several Alberta Disc Golf Tour events since including the Alberta Open several times as well as 2010′s Provincial Doubles Championship.
Disc Golf in Alberta would continue to gain popularity through 2007 when Edmonton hosted its 10th annual River City Cup to players all over Western Canada. The increased popularity and exposure of this cornerstone event were monumental in the push for a renovated Rundle Park and it wouldn’t be long before disc golf went from being a niche sport to an activity freely enjoyed by thousands.
With the Alberta Disc Golf Tour entering it’s 10th year in 2008, EDGA looked forward to completing a re-designed 18-basket course at Rundle park complete with PDGA sanctioned Innova DISCatchers, 8 to 10 foot cement tee pads and graphic tee signs showing the layout and distances of each hole. The project was a collaborative result of a positive and healthy new partnership between EDGA and the City of Edmonton. Construction on the new course started in early May of 2008 and completed construction in the summer of 2009.