A hike with a purpose — Crossfire Disc Golf tournament slated this weekend | VailDaily.com

A hike with a purpose — Crossfire Disc Golf tournament slated this weekend

Hole 15 at the Cross Creek Disc Golf Course can be spotted through a grove of aspen trees sporting their fall colors.

Take a weekend of peak fall color and combine it with a sport that just about anyone can tackle and you get what organizers hope will be a formula for fun next weekend.

The Crossfire Disc Golf Tournament — on the new Cross Creek Disc Golf Course located on the Scott family property up Gypsum Creek Valley — will feature three rounds of play for participants on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22 and 23. The field capacity is 72 players and all ability levels are welcome.

"We are really excited about it because it is the first tournament to be held exclusively up at the Cross Creek Ranch," said tournament director Steve Klehfoth, of the Flying Eagle Disc Golf Society.

The Cross Creek course was built last summer at the picturesque Scott property. "Blake Scott actually works at the Gypsum Creek Golf Course where we have hosted our Flying Eagle Open," Klehfoth said. "Plus Blake is lifelong friends with one of our members, Josh Yandle."

Those connections led to conversations which ultimately led to construction.

"This is an exceptional piece of property that is perfect for a disc golf course," Klehfoth said.

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Everyone can play

For a number of years, the Flying Eagle Disc Society has hosted a signature fall event called the Flying Eagle Open. That tournament is taking a one year hiatus so the club can spotlight the new Cross Creek course.

"It's definitely going to be more of a relaxed, small community atmosphere," Klehfoth said. "The Cross Creek Ranch is a beautiful spot and it will be a great weekend to get away from things."

While the event is called a tournament, don't expect cutthroat competition. By its very nature, disc golf is a more laid back sport. While there is a pro disc golf circuit and world championship competition, the sport is largely played by folks who prefer games where they can drink beer while they compete.

"It's kind of like taking a hike with a purpose," said Lenny Siegel, co-director of the Crossfire Tournament. "Disc golf is looser in terms of etiquette and the barriers to playing disc golf are not very prohibitive."

"Disc golf is incredibly accessible. The equipment is so cheap compared to other recreation equipment," Klehfoth agreed.

To play a round, all a would-be disc golfer needs is a pack of specialty throwing discs which sell for as little as $20. Many disc golf courses — including the Hole in the Sky course at the Eagle County Fairgrounds in Eagle — are free.

As a specialty operation, normal play at Cross Creek requires a membership. Its listed membership fees are $25 for a single day, $64 for three days or $179 for an annual membership.

For disc golfers interested in checking out the new facility, the Crossfire tourney offers a prime opportunity with a number of perks thrown in. Registration is $90 for both men's and women's pro divisions and $60 for the men's and women's amateur divisions. That fee covers three rounds of play, lunch on Saturday and beer provided by presenting sponsor Bonfire Brewing Co. In the pro divisions, there will be cash prizes for winners and there will be prizes for the amateur division winners.

But regardless of skill level, Klehfoth said all disc golfers are welcome at the Crossfire Tournament.

"There is no rule that says you have to be a professional out there," Klehfoth said. "People take it at different levels of seriousness and disc golf is one of those great things that people of all ages, ability levels and genders can engage in. Next weekend will be a fun way for people to get out in the woods and have a great facility to play."