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Frisbee Golf: A few rounds of Indian Summer

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News
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Disc golf is a great outdoor activity for those days when you’re feeling too lazy to go for a run or a bike ride, but too guilty to sit on the couch.

I decided to join some friends on Sunday for a round of disc golf at the new Pub course, as it’s most commonly called, which is located behind Pine Tree Plaza in Winter Park. It was a crisp, clear day, and knowing winter is just a good snowstorm away, we were happy to take advantage of the newly built 18-hole course.

Some disc golf players are really passionate about the sport; they have drivers, mid-range and putter discs, throwing techniques for every hole, and they adamently keep score. As for me, I just play for fun, and with whatever disc my friend lets me borrow. That day my disc was a Cyclone, graciously loaned to me by Rob Peeters.

Disc golf began in the late ’60s by a man named George Sappenfield, who discovered that golf would be a lot more fun for kids if it involved frisbees. Turns out it’s more fun for adults too ” at least, the ones who prefer not to pay greens fees, and enjoy the companionship of their dogs.

“And, this course requires no water,” Kevin Miller smugly pointed out, as we started to walk through the course.

Disc golf has a rich history in Grand County, which used to be a disc golfing hot-spot in its heyday, according to some locals. But due to land development, courses disappeared rather quickly, and now the only public basket courses are located at the YMCA of the Rockies/Snowmountain Ranch, Winter Park Resort, Hot Sulphur Springs and at the Pub/Rendezvous course. (There are also a few object courses built by locals, which use poles instead of baskets.)

The Pub course starts out next to King’s Crossing Road. The first hole is in a fairly barren section laced with rocks, dirt and log piles, but then the course winds into clusters of pine trees and open meadows. Fraser resident Elisha Bartlett is pleased with the new Pub course, which used to be a local favorite “bootleg” course before Grand Park removed it as part of its forest management program for its new development.

Grand Park later helped brign the course back, however, by donating land for a new course and buying baskets. It was a joint effort by a local disc golf group, Cornerstone Community Foundation and the Fraser River Valley Lions Club. While the course will be relocated in a year or two to a different location because of more construction, the president of Grand Park Clark Lipscomb said he plans to have a disc golf course permanently in the future.

Although Bartlett is in no means pro-development, she appreciates the fact that the course was replaced.

“It’s nice that a developer is actually trying to retain (a disc golf course) instead of taking it away,” she said.

Peeters agreed. He pointed out the new baskets at each hole, which can range anywhere from $100 to $600 each.

“It’s nice that the developer put money into do it. Baskets aren’t cheap.”

A train passed by as we played the third hole of the course, looking romantic against the tall pines. At the fourth hole, I stared up at the snowy Continental Divide, and tried to take in the beautiful fall scenery that I often take for granted. It really is a beautiful course, I thought, and then cursed as my disc hit another tree. Disc golf, like regular golf, involves a lot of cursing.

Keeping score is also just like regular golf, Bartlett explained. Every throw is a stroke, and each basket has a par. Not being much of a golfer, I didn’t really grasp the concept, but Bartlett assured me it didn’t matter.

“There’s no rule book. It’s just common knowledge,” she said. She admitted she doesn’t really keep score either. We watched as Ian Aneloski, of Fraser, climbed a tree to get his disc. It was a good shot until the wind took it. Just like regular golf, you blame the elements whenver possible.

As we walked along the course and breathed in the fresh air, I was reminded on how lucky we were to be enjoying this good weather so late in November. The ground was dry despite a few patches of snow, and Bartlett was even wearing flip-flops. It was good to be out with friends, under the sun and clear, blue sky, the snowy peaks of the Divide as our backdrop.

“As much as we enjoy the snow, we’re enjoying this Indian summer,” Peeters said.

My first par was on hole No. 9, and my first birdie on No. 10. By the last hole I became so confident I became a bit of a show-off, and my husband bet me on who would have the least strokes on basket No. 18. Since the bet involved dinner, I won with a par.


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