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Jul 22 2006, 12:49 PM
From: Disc golf lands in park in Sweden (http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060722/NEWS01/607220331/1002/NEWS)



July 22, 2006

Disc golf lands in park in Sweden

Weekend wormburners now have eighth place to toss in area

SWEDEN There's more work involved than meets the eye when it comes to creating a disc golf course.

Dave Thomas of Brockport, Ron Raleigh of Greece and others have spent months clearing dead trees, stumps and brush and designing an 18-hole course in Sweden Town Park.

Their labors have come to fruition. The new course, the eighth disc golf course in Monroe County, opens today.

Another nine-hole course opened a few weeks ago in Sawyer Park in Greece. That course was created by moving nine holes from Basil Marella Park in Greece which had had 27 holes to Sawyer, leaving 18 holes at Basil Marella.

Greece Deputy Supervisor Jeff McCann said the move was made to realign playing-field space at Marella.

"The disc golf courses have been a positive addition to our parks," he said. "They have brought in a number of people who might not be your traditional users of parks."

Disc golf's popularity has never been greater. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association's Web site, the organization's membership has increased from 3,904 at the end of 1996 to more than 10,000 today.

The Rochester Disc Golf Association has about 40 active members, said Thomas, a former president of the organization.

The reasons for disc golf's boom?

"I tried to do regular golf, but it was too frustrating," said Raleigh, 66, a Kodak retiree. "This, you can play year-round, even in the winter. It's a lot easier than golf."

That doesn't mean it's simple, though. Players get a pretty good workout heaving their flying discs don't call them Frisbees through wooded areas and around water hazards and other obstacles.

Thomas, a retired teacher, got hooked while he was a physical education teacher with the Greece Central School District a dozen years ago.

"I went to Ellison Park and shot a 96," said Thomas, whose scores have improved since then. "My arm hurt .... But I knew the kids would love it."

The differences between disc golf and regular golf are fairly obvious: Players in disc golf throw plastic discs across fairways, with the object of getting the discs into a metal basket in as few shots as possible. Disc golf courses are shorter, measured in feet rather than yards. Discs generally weigh from 140 to 200 grams, making them easier to haul than golf clubs.

Disc golf also is free, and can be adapted to almost any area unobtrusively.

Flying discs are more compact than Frisbees, with some designed to curve left to right, others right to left, and some that roll more predictably.

"Frisbees are made to catch and throw," Thomas said. "These are meant strictly to throw."

If you go
The grand opening of the new disc golf course at Sweden Town Park will be at 11 a.m. today. The park is off Redman Road. The grand-opening events will include demonstrations of game play, a limited number of free commemorative discs, and the opportunity to play on the course.