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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Discs, friends and a nice walk add up to fun

I made three new friends last week because I wanted to find out more about disc golf. Just as they were finishing their game Saturday afternoon, I stopped to talk to Mike Boughton, Ashley Flint and Sam Beebe.

The 18-hole course, using next generation Frisbees, is in Oakwood Park on Hardwood Avenue in Cottage Grove.

There are usually many cars in the parking lot.

I was interested in finding out about how the game is played and who plays it. After my new friends set me straight, I found out people of all ages play it and it started as a kids' way to enjoy golf.

Courses started being laid out in public parks during the 1970s.

There are more than 55 courses in the metropolitan area and many of them, like Oakwood Park, are free. Some charge $5.

Each hole is measured in feet, not yards, and players walk. Ashley said she's a beginner and doesn't play all the holes and just enjoys the walk, which is about 1.5 miles.

Mike and Sam, in good weather, play nearly every day after work.

Off a tee, players throw specialized discs you won't find at the beach. To score, the Frisbee must lodge within vertically mounted chains. There are specific rules for "putting."

There are many penalties in regular golf that don't apply in disc golf such as putting your disc into the water. The penalty, Mike said, is that you having to find your Frisbee in some yucky water.

Some holes are open and don't have a lot of trees so you can see where your disc is going, Ashley said. Some of the holes in the woods are shorter but you have to get your shot around the trees.

There are "mandatories," or special rules, on some holes such as going around a tree on the right and not the left.

There is much to learn if you want to be competitive, my friends said. Sam throws his disc across his body and Mike uses his wrists more than Sam does. Neither is the least bit interested in playing regular golf.

The Oakwood course has been improved over the years, Mike said, which makes it more fun to play. Players pick up the trash.

Because there are no motorized carts, the course is very quiet. Mike, Sam and Ashley said they've seen a lot of wildlife such as deer and red fox.

Those interested in buying discs should not buy cheap ones, the three said.

Large stores specializing in sports stuff are good places to buy disc kits. You'll get driver, mid-range and putter discs.

For more information about disc golf, tournaments, and leagues, keep it local and visit Everyday Disc Golf next to the Newport Post Office. You'll also find the store on Facebook.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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