Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Disc Golf: Old Farm Park in Kentwood

Some of my friends have gotten into playing disc golf, which convinced me to look into the game. It turns out that there are a lot of courses in my part of Michigan, and plenty of people playing.

Disc golf is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: golf played with discs (aka frisbees). Same general idea as traditional golf, just using discs instead of the ball/club and a metal basket instead of a hole in the ground. Courses are generally 9 or 18 holes, largely in public parks around the area.
I went out earlier this week to Old Farm Park in Kentwood, which is just a few miles north of where I live in Caledonia. I was encouraged to try that particular place when I saw some comments about it being good for beginners, and fairly short. Since this was my first-ever outing with nothing but a starter set of discs that I got from Amazon, that seemed like exactly what I needed. I didn't bother keeping score since I know I was horrible, but I had a good time trying out the sport.

The park is a nice enough place, although it's showing signs of age. Graffiti on the signs, beat-up park furniture, that sort of thing. The grass areas are mowed and it's mostly clean, though. And there was work going on by the basketball courts, so improvements are being made.
The first tee. Ignore the graffiti.
I learned very quickly that the first thing I'm going to need to work on is distance. I had a hard time getting my disc to go more than halfway toward the basket, even on the shortest holes. On the longer ones, I was throwing 4-5 times before I was anywhere near the end. Kept hooking it badly to the left, too. Going to definitely need some practice on throwing straight over distance.

I felt a bit better about the short game. Once I got within 10 yards or so, hitting the basket seemed fairly straightforward. Mostly I could get within a few feet of the basket for an easy toss-in, and a couple of times even managed to hit it directly from a good distance. I need a lot more practice to do it consistently, of course.
View from a tee near the woods. You can just barely see the yellow basket rim in between the trees.
There's a pretty substantial wooded area right in the middle of the park, and several of the holes run right through it.  Threading your way through the trees is certainly a challenge, at least for a beginner like me. I hit quite a few. My tendency to hook my throws actually helped here, though, as I was able to curl the disc around a few particularly thick clumps.
This pond is on the side of the course. A couple of holes run along it, but nothing goes across.
Some water is present on the course, but it's all off to the side of the holes. You might drop a disc into a creek or pond if you overthrow, but there's no place where you have to cross the water as part of a hole. Which is good for those of us without much confidence in our distance throws as of yet.

There were several other people out playing the course as well, even though I was there on a weekday morning. I suspect it would be a pretty crowded place on weekends or holidays. Saw a few signs for a league, too. Disc golf seems to be a popular pastime in the area, and there are quite a few more courses in the area to try out. I'll definitely go out some more this spring and summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment