Disc golf course proposed for Cahoon Park

Bay Middle School teachers Greg Leininger and Lawrence Kuh stake out the third hole for the proposed disc golf course in Bay Village’s Cahoon Memorial Park.

Most of us have tossed around a Frisbee sometime in our lives, and many of us have played (or tried to play) golf. There's a relatively new sport growing in popularity across the country that combines the two activities, known as disc golf. It's played by tossing a disc from the tee area across the green toward the “Pole Hole,” an elevated metal basket, in the fewest number of throws.

Enthusiasts of the game cringe at the term “Frisbee golf,” because players don't use a regular Frisbee but rather a flying disc specifically designed for use in disc golf. Instead of the big bag of clubs used in golf, disc players traditionally use a set of 3 discs: a driver disc for long distances, a mid-range disc and a putter disc, though some players have up to 15 discs designed for distance and flight curvature.

The sport has been growing in number of players and courses over the last decade, to 3,500 disc golf courses in the U.S. in 2012. There's even a professional organization for the sport, the Professional Disc Golf Association, that held more than 1,300 tournaments last year and features a championship tour series modeled after golf’s PGA Tour. There are a few courses in Northeast Ohio, including Berea and Parma, and the city of Westlake has five golf disc holes behind the recreation center complex, although it's a not complete course, but more of a practice area.

All of this interest in a sport that can be played from school age to old age prompted Bay Village resident Lawrence Kuh to explore the possibility of having a disc golf course located in Bay Village's Cahoon Memorial Park. After walking the park and planning the number of holes, Kuh came up with the layout for a nine-hole course straddling Cahoon Creek south of Lake Road, with four holes on the east side of the creek and five holes on the west side. 

With the course layout in hand, along with disc golf facts and cost estimates for such a course, Kuh approached the Cahoon Park trustees with his idea during the Feb. 11 meeting of Bay Village City Council. He asked the trustees for their approval to pursue raising funds from civic organizations and individuals to purchase the pole baskets and markers for the course.

Kuh, who was a driving force behind the Bay Skate and Bike Park built in 2010, stated that the the entire project will be privately financed and would not require any city or trustee funds. The trustees liked the disc golf idea and voted to allow him to proceed with the fundraising.

Kuh, a sixth-grade math teacher at Bay Middle School, explained that disc golf has already been taught to BMS seventh- and eighth-graders in gym class for a couple of years as a low-cost way to teach golf concepts, which are included in the content standards for physical education. He believes that such a course can benefit residents by encouraging greater use of the scenic valley in Cahoon Park.

"Every age group has the ability to do it,” Kuh said. “It increases physical activity, it's low cost, it's a passive use of green space and people perhaps don't know even about this valley very much so it opens it up to residents with another activity. I see it as a collaborative community project between the schools and the city. It completely benefits the schools through physical education, it gives the residents of the city another option of something to do, and it introduces another physical activity to the kids, perhaps that they've never even thought about," he said.

A few days after the city council meeting, Kuh walked Cahoon Park with BMS art teacher Greg Leininger, who has been playing disc golf for 12 years, to set stakes for the possible hole locations. They took care to ensure tee areas and hole baskets will be inconspicuously placed so as not to intrude on the natural beauty of the park. The hole baskets can be removed when the course is not in use during the winter months, if desired, or readjusted to refine play on the course.

Kuh estimates that the course will cost $3,500 to build.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 10:44 AM, 02.19.2013