DISC-over a new kind of golfing

By C.J. Barbre

You no longer need a dog to retrieve a Frisbee.

Disc golf is reportedly one of the fastest growing sports in California, not to mention the country. Search for disc golf on Google and it offers more than 300,000 selections.

According to Chuck Woody with the Visalia Parks Foundation, "It is easy to play, inexpensive and accessible to people of all abilities." The game consists of throwing a disc from a tee box and trying to get it into a disc golf basket with the fewest throws. A disc golf course has 18 baskets and 18 tee boxes spread out in the manner of a regular golf course. But it is OK to have lots of trees in the way. The baskets are made of steel chain and the tees are made of concrete. No special maintenance of the course is required beyond what would normally be done for a public park.

There has been a disc golf facility in Visalia in Seven Oaks City Park since spring 2001.

Now there is going to be a Championship Disc Golf Course installed in Mooney Grove Park. At the March 1 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, Woody requested that the new disc golf course be named the Perry Championship Disc Golf Course at Mooney Grove Park, because Michael Perry covered most of the $8,750 estimated cost of creating the course (with free labor), contingent on the course being named after him. Normally the county names public facilities so an exception to that regulation was required.

As part of his sales pitch, Woody noted that the discs can be imprinted with custom designs for tournaments or special events. "They can do really well as fund-raisers," he said about disc golf tournaments. He also noted that there are five instances where the course crosses roads in the park, which Woody said would attract the pros. "The harder the course, the better,"' he said.

The cities of Fresno, Hanford, Bakersfield, Taft and Visalia have permanent recreational courses. The Perry course will be the first championship course within a 200-mile radius. It is also billed as a great sport for families with children.

District 5 Supervisor Jim Maples said it would offer one more opportunity for the public to make use of a public park. The course will be set up and named the Perry Championship Disc Golf Course at Mooney Grove Park, the supervisors agreed.

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