Go for a round on the links at Cottonwood Creek Park, especially on a weekend or sunny day, and you’ll have plenty of company.
The disc golf course is the only public one in the city – there’s another public course in Widefield – and with the rising popularity of the sport, long wait times and crowded fairways are the norm. Many trespass on private property to play on the employee course at Hewlett-Packard’s plant.
Disc golfers says, compared to other cities, Colorado Springs just isn’t up to par.
“There’s a demand that’s far outstripping the supply of available disc golf in Colorado Springs,” said enthusiast Nick Kittle, who Thursday gave a presentation to the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, urging the city to build more venues for the sport.
The drive was a hole-in-one. The board unanimously supported building five new courses, though the details of where the $60,000 will come from and where the courses will go remain to be settled.
The sport involves trying to reach the target, a chain basket, in as few throws as possible on an 18-hole course. Like regular golf, there are stroke penalties for losing the disk in a tree or water. But the similarities end there.
“Silence on the tee pad, that’s common courtesy, but I don’t have too many friends who follow that. They’re happy to heckle you, especially if they’re a few strokes up,” said Kittle.
It’s popular among a younger demographic than golf and a lot cheaper to get into.
Said parks board member Scot Hume, “It’s great fun and all you have to do is basically buy three discs and you’re up and going.”
“I was recently out in California and I was wondering what those things were,” said board member Jackie Hilaire.
Kittle hopes that by building five courses at parks around the city, either existing parks or new properties, Colorado Springs could gain a reputation in the sport and begin holding national competitions. Such events now are held in Pueblo, where there are two public courses, and the Denver area, with more than a dozen.
The biggest uncertainty is funding.
“As you know, coming up with $30,000 is a challenge and $60,000 is even more, so it would be a program that we would need to find out where the money is coming from,” said board member Carl Reinhardt.
Supporters and city parks staff, who back the idea, are exploring selling sponsorships at each hole to help pay for construction. Once built, they would be free to the public to use.
Parks board members agreed with Kittle that the courses would be a good way to reach out to the sort of younger demographic employers and city boosters covet.
“We try to sell ourselves as an active community and this certainly fits that theme,” said board member Gary Feffer. “It seems to me it absolutely targets the folks we want to see be a part of Colorado Springs.”
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