Hitting the Links… With Discs

By: Lisa McDivitt Email
By: Lisa McDivitt Email

As the weather starts to improve, it might be time to get out onto the greens and play nine or 18 holes. It's golf, but not the kind where you bring your clubs.

Instead of woods, this golf game is played with plastic. It's disc golf, and it's a growing sport here in the Grand Valley.

"I play Frisbee golf whenever I can,” says Matt Sandler, a local attorney and disc golf enthusiast. "I play because it's a good chance to get outside and have some fun."

Sandler and his coworkers get out on the local course every chance they get. But they are only a few of the dozens of people who play each day in the grand valley.

"It's growing at a very, very fast pace,” says Bill Alderman, a board member of the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club. “When it started, we had 10 players a day, now we're averaging 40."

Their golf club has helped to bring local attention to the sport over the years.

Disc golf was founded in the late 1960s by Californian Ed Headrick. Originally called Frisbee Golf, other disc manufacturers got in on the market. It’s grown rapidly and internationally over the past several decades. Lately, it’s caught on locally as well.

Rock Cesario is an avid player and grand valley disc golf club vice president. He says anyone can play. "Beginners as young as eight years old, all the way to professionals. Others go out just to have fun."

Despite the tools of play, disc golf borrows heavily from the game of traditional golf.
"It's pretty similar,” says Alderman. “You have drivers, putters and mid–ranges. Rules of the game are almost identical to those of regular golf. It's all about courtesy and being nice to each other."

Cesario, who sells golf discs at his record store, Triple Play, in downtown Grand Junction, says there's one more similarity.

"It's like regular golf. You can learn the basics in a few minutes, then it takes a lifetime to master.”

For now, disc golfers have several options for hitting the links in the Grand Valley. Including two courses in Grand Junction and one in Palisade.

And despite some courses in the U.S. starting to charge to play, here, you can still walk on for free.

"He who has the most fun wins, and that's pretty much true of disc golf," says Cesario.

Sandler, who says his game goes up and down, agrees.

"It can be frustrating at times, but overall it's just a good way to get out and clear your head."

There are two courses right now in Grand Junction, one in Palisade, and a new one in Powderhorn. But the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club is asking the city for more to be built. It’s something the city says it might consider, but not yet.

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