Ashton Court’s Disc Golf course to be removed but council won’t say why

More than 1,250 people who play disc golf at one of the country’s leading courses have called on Bristol City Council to reverse a decision to scrap the course.

The council-owned Ashton Court is home to a disc golf course, which played host to national championships back in 2009 and 2012, but the council has decided to remove the course, which consists of a series of metal poles, baskets and containers – which are the ‘holes’ players aim for with their frisbee-like discs.

The course was introduced almost 15 years ago at Ashton Court, and is part of the council’s sports provision there that also includes a football golf course, regular golf course and off-road bicycle course around the wooded areas of the huge country estate.

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But now, Bristol City Council has decided to remove the disc golf course entirely, much to the fury of players who come from all over the region to play there. And even more bizarrely, despite Bristol Live repeatedly asking Bristol City Council for an explanation, the council’s press office failed to come up with one, saying it was ‘not as clear cut’ as the petition states.

More than 1,000 have signed a petition set up in late July by Duncan Fraser, who said that disc golf is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, and the course at Ashton Court meant a local disc golf course was set up and is long established.

He said the course there ‘gracefully interweaves the landscape and is a great source of enjoyment for the local club and community.’ It costs £7 for an adult or £6 for a student, junior or senior player to play Disc Golf at Ashton Court, and a frisbee each player needs can be hired with a £5 deposit.

Removing the course would ‘derail the sports growth in the community and negatively impact the many people that have found solace playing on they grounds’, Mr Fraser added.

“Disc golf is growing rapidly in popularity all over the world. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in modern times, with a 33 per cent increase in games played from 2019 to 2020 alone and it is showing no sign of stopping.

“In Scandinavia it has been a super impactful way in getting kids back out into nature and this is proving the same in Bristol. Through the pandemic the sport grew exponentially and provided a platform to help people enjoy green spaces, improving mental health and wellbeing whilst engaging in fun and family friendly sport. The sport is low impact and requires minimal infrastructure to work, making it an ideal addition to a public park,” he added.

More than 800 have signed the petition calling on the council to U-turn and keep the course. “With its continued growth and popularity for all ages there should be a home for the sport in the public park,” Mr Fraser said, adding that removing the course would ‘break an ever-growing community of disc-golfers.

The National Disc Golf Championships taking place at Ashton Court in 2012 – pictured is Matt Cutler, who set up Bristol’s Disc Golf Club
(Image: Bristol News and Media)

More than a thousand have signed the petition, and dozens of petitioners have written why they want to keep the course. “Disc golf is a rapidly growing sport,” wrote one. “The removal of this course would derail progress made and strip the privilege of playing from many people.

“I traveled here from the United States and met up here with friends to play a round,” said another player. “I had no idea it would be so beautiful and a really fun course. I can’t believe such a jewel could be removed. It’s a beautiful place to get healthy, and spend time outside with friends,” she added.

Bristol Live first asked Bristol City Council why it was taking the disc golf course away on August 1, and a response was promised. We asked again on August 2, again on August 3, once more on August 4 and finally on August 9, and each time the council said it would respond with an explanation, but has not.

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