July 15, 2010 in Washington Voices

Disc golf in park draws following

Hundreds of players attend games held every week
By The Spokesman-Review

Jeff Crum, president of the Spokane Disc Golf Association board, practices disc golf putting at High Bridge Park in Spokane on July 5.
(Full-size photo)

It is a tiny bit weird, especially if you don’t know what you’ve walked into.

On a somewhat sunny afternoon in High Bridge Park discs are flying left and right, coming out of nowhere and flying who knows where. At least that’s what disc golf seems like to the uninitiated. Casual passers-by may not even notice the big metal baskets with a bright yellow brim that are the targets of the flying discs, but they sure will notice the discs.

The Spokane Disc Golf Association has about 80 members, but hundreds of people play at High Bridge Park or at the Downriver Disc Golf course every week.

“The parks department gives us the space, but we maintain our own equipment,” said Jeff Crum, president of the Spokane Disc Golf Association’s board.

The association is working on developing a new 18-hole course in People’s Park, a project that was surrounded by controversy earlier this year but things are going much better now, Crum said.

“We stay away from the waterfront and we stay away from the edges of the park, and, well, we stay away from the nude beach,” Crum said. “The parks department really wants us down there.”

Crum estimates it will cost the association a little more than $10,000 to construct the course, so the group is looking for sponsors.

“You can sponsor a hole for $600. That will get your business name on a little plaque there,” said Crum. Fundraisers have brought in around $1,300, and The Swamp – a local bar – has signed on to sponsor two holes.

Disc golf is played like regular golf but with different equipment.

The professional discs are dense and smaller than a regular Frisbee, and they come in different weights, much like golf clubs. The goal is to throw a disc into a basket – you have to play the disc from where it lands – and the lowest number of throws wins.

What is very different from regular golf is that there are no tee times or greens fees, people simply show up at a designated park course and play.

Crum began playing disc golf in 2007 when his pastor suggested he come along.

“It’s easy to get hooked on, you just get into it,” Crum said.

Are there classes and clinics?

“Well, not really. The best thing to do is to come down to the park and tag along with some people,” said Crum. “Hopefully you’ll run into someone who knows what they are doing.”

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