SUDBURY -- Despite the rain and cold weather in Sudbury on Sunday, close to a dozen local disc golf players took a lesson from Canada’s top player Thomas Gilbert. 

Disc golf is a flying disc sport where players throw the disk at the target basket. The game follows the same rules as golf and is also played on an 18-hole course. 

Gilbert’s clinic on Sunday was to help local players improve their forehand and backhand shots. 

He has played the sport for five years, after casually playing it with a friend one day. 

“One of my friends brought me out to the disc golf course and we played around causally for fun and I really, really enjoyed it,” said Gilbert. “I picked up on it really quickly and soon I was playing every single day and practicing on the field whenever I could.”

The 21-year-old studies Kinesiology at Laurentian University but is originally from Toronto. What started as Gilbert competing in a few local tournaments has now turned in to him competing all across North America. 

“I picked up on competition here in Ontario really quickly,” said Gilbert. “I kind of went right into the competitive division and right within the first year I was competing at the top level so I decided to go to the United States and play some bigger tournaments,” he added. 

After playing in some tournaments across the country, Gilbert eventually went on to join the Disc Golf Pro Tour.

Now working to pass on his knowledge, many of the dozen people who took part in Sunday’s clinic, said they were excited at the opportunity. 

“It’s pretty exciting.  Especially to get someone up here in this area is fantastic,” said Dan Gamsby, a former golfer who has recently found a passion for disc golf. “The sport of disc golf, you get the same technical challenges as golf but it’s a much more rewarding game.”

“You can learn much quicker, it’s something that you can get rewarded with much quicker, you can better at much quicker,” added Gamsby. “And the technical aspect is very addictive if you’re into sports.” 

Between colder weather on the horizon and a surging pandemic, disc golf tournaments have slowed down. Gilbert said that no matter what the weather his plan is to continue to train in Sudbury while he continues his studies at Laurentian University.