Don’t Call it Frisbee; Disc Golf: a growing trend
Disc golf might have evolved out of the Frisbee concept: Throw a disc through the air; watch it fly. But it’s more like traditional golf than anything.
Both sports involve trying to reach the target from the tee box in the fewest number of throws. But instead of using a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. Participants can play on formal courses with designated pars for each target, usually an elevated basket on a pole. Or players can make their own course, naming targets as they go: that large pine tree, the newspaper box, the moving roller blader.
Disc golf is an easy way to spend time outside, enjoying the mountainscape. Easy to learn, it’s accessible to all age groups.
Players can get as technical as they want. There are specialized discs designed for distance drives or precision putts. Some discs are made to curve from right to left and others left to right. There are even water hazard discs which float. Though it might be easier to have the specialized discs, disc golf can be just as fun with a Frisbee and some friends.
According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, there are 1,745 registered disc golf courses in the United States. Sixty-six of these are in Colorado, and four in Eagle County.
The busiest of all local courses, the 18-hole Vail course is located at the top of the Gondola. Boasting spectacular views of the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross, the fairways are blanketed in wildflowers. In addition to a couple of uphill holes (always more difficult), there are two massive downhill shots. Because the discs can float a long way, keep your eyes on the disc and pick out a landmark close to where it lands. Otherwise, you’ll be cursing that beautiful tall grass for obscuring your disc.
The Gondola is free in the evening, and Fridays are celebrated with live music and drink specials for FAC (Friday Afternoon Club).
The 18-hole course at Beaver Creek is uncrowded and slightly rugged, giving it a remote feeling despite the closeness of civilization. Thick trees, green underbrush and steep slopes never let you forget you’re playing a mountain course, and neither do the frequent deer sightings.
Located at the top of Centennial Chairlift, there are several uphill shots. On the flip side, both the downhill and level holes are easy by comparison. Keep your eye on the disc, as they like to disappear into the surroundings.
There’s rarely a wait at the Beav’, but if so, just start in the middle of the course at hole 11 and work your way around from there.
The easiest in the valley, the 9-hole Edwards course runs along the river the length of the Lake Creek Village apartments. The main challenges are staying dry and avoiding windows. It’s a good introductory course for those who don’t want to get on the mountain.
Located at the Eagle County Fairgrounds, the Eagle course is flat and woody with frequent stops along the creek. The horse pastures are firmly in sync with the town’s ranching past. There are some fun shots through the trees, and a couple of holes open up, giving players the chance to drive the disc its full potential.
The East Vail park has potential. The homegrown, pick-your-own-target course doesn’t have any baskets. It’s not well marked, so it’s easier if disc golfers are accompanied by someone who has played there before. Situated near the East Vail chutes and waterfalls, it’s beautiful with both open and wooded spaces. Local disc golfers are hoping local government will kick in and set up real baskets.
For more information on disc golf, visit http://www.pdga.com or visit any of the local disc golf shops, including One Track Mind in Beaver Creek.
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