Disc golf locally growing in popularity

Members of the HDDGA make their way to basket one after their opening drive in the Blind Gully Course at Von Baer Park in Providence.

<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Disc golf is here and it’s growing. Disc golf is used with discs for throwing and baskets with hanging metal chains designed to catch a disc as the target. Just like in normal golf, holes (baskets) are placed on a course and you are given a certain amount of strokes for each hole.

Disc golf all but vanished in Cache Valley once the course surrounding USU dorms was removed. However, a course at Von Baer Park was added just over a year ago and disc golfers have regularly been at the park since.

Shortly after the park was put in place, a competitive disc golf group formed called the High Desert Disc Golf Alliance (HDDGA), which aims to grow the sport locally. The year-round clubs includes disc golfers of all skill levels and divisions, including: Beginner, Amateur, Intermediate, and Pro or Open divisions.

The permanent course at Von Baer Park in Providence is officially called the Blind Gully disc golf course, and has nine baskets with two tee-pads for each basket (18 holes in all). The course is a little tough for beginners due to the challenge and rough terrain, but improvements to the course will be made throughout 2013. The course hosted a competition earlier this year which attracted disc golf enthusiasts from throughout the state of Utah, and Idaho – even drawing a few PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) players.

Plans for other courses are under development, and within the next few years anybody in the valley should be able to play on a course within just minutes of their home. The city of Hyrum is developing a course in the Salt Hollow Park, and Sky View High School possesses several baskets which will be placed within the Smithfield city limits.

Larger professional caliber 18-hole courses are in the works at the mouth of Green Canyon, and the Cache County Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds already has a layout and temporary 18-hole course where trees marked with upper and lower orange lines wrapped around the trunk are already in use. The city of Logan also has long-term plans to add a course in the park west of Icon Health &amp; Fitness. Plans for a course at Sherwood Hills were recently scrapped, due to the resort becoming a rehabilitation facility.

Utah State University still has the baskets which were taken down from the dorms and are currently stored in the HPER building storage on campus. Bob Davies, a member of the HDDGA, said he has ambition to see a disc golf course on Old Main Hill.

“The area is set up beautifully for a disc golf course, and fairways can be created to avoid foot traffic. This would be a perfect utilization of the beautiful space, present disc golf challenge, and it would in no way degrade from the beauty of USU’s picturesque hillside,” Davies said. “We have actually already brought a few portable baskets and have run the course, everybody who participated loved it.”

Along with the upcoming venues to play the sport, a business focused on selling disc golf gear is already making its presence known locally as well. Online disc golf retail store Infinite Discs has also recently launched, and is operated in Logan. Though they have no immediate plans to open a brick-and-mortar store, Infinite Discs is accruing a small inventory for locals to pick up the basics and avoid extra shipping fees.

“Besides the low cost of the sport, we know from our experience that there is a large demand for the sport in the valley,” said Brandon Merzlock, President of HDDGA. “Between the residents and the USU students who would love to play but don’t have the means to, there is a disc golf following which has remained underground because they just haven’t had access to the sport. HDDGA is going to change that and make disc golf accessible any time of year.”

The HDDGA is in session year round, and breaks only in December. Currently, the disc golf alliance plays every Saturday at 1 p.m., rotating between Von Baer Park, the Fairgrounds, and Sky View High School. Throughout the year, league is done in three phases, and members compete for bag tags, prizes and pride.

“There are a number of businesses which are willing to sponsor, so we have fantastic prizes such as a meal at Chuck-A-Rama or Texas Roadhouse on a weekly basis. We also hand out cash to the top winners of their respective divisions after play each week,” Merzlock said.

Because not all courses are fully funded or are not yet complete, they do not have baskets as targets. During league play portable baskets are brought by members to create a complete course.

Merzlock explains there are a few other things to look forward to in 2013, as well.

“We are also looking forward to Huktoberfest, a Professional Disc Golf Association Sanctioned Event at the Cache County Fairgrounds which will take place in October. This event alone will bring in more than 100 players from all across the Western United States,” Merzlock said.

For those who are interested in becoming more involved in the local disc golf scene, they can become a member of the <a href=”http://hddga.com/” target=”_blank”>HDDGA</a>, and disc golf gear can be purchased through the HDDGA or online vendors, such as the local <a href=”http://infinitediscs.com/” target=”_blank”>InfiniteDiscs.com</a>.

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