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Disc golfing is a fun frisbee throwing time

T-R PHOTO BY THOMAS NELSON — Steve Ryan, of Le Grand tosses his disc during a disc golf game at Riverview Park.

There are a lot of different terms for it — disc golf, frisbee golf and frolf — but it’s always fun.

For at least three decades disc golf has slowly gained enough popularity that there are disc golf courses in most major Iowa cities. People young and old can enjoy disc golfing because it combines the laid back atmosphere of a golf game with the freewheeling nature of frisbee. 

“It’s definitely challenging, but anybody with any skill can go out and become a become a beginner frisbee golfer,” said Geoff Hubbard, city of Marshalltown parks and recreation department director. 

The cost to participate is extremely low compared to golf, with players only needing a couple discs and the courses are free to use.

In 2012 an 18-hole course at Riverview Park opened, partially thanks to the efforts of people like Steve Snyder who worked with the Marshalltown Parks and Recreation Department to make the course a reality. 

Since then the course has hosted several events, including some by Dynamic discs and Blue Power.

“We are a small town and unfortunately we don’t really have a club,” said Synder. “This year we have seen a lot more high school aged kids out and playing and that has varied since we’ve redone the course.”

Disc golf is a lot like regular golf except players do not use clubs and a ball. Players use arms and a frisbee. 

Instead of holes, there are baskets frolfers try to get their discs into. The game is scored just like golf, with players trying to get into the basket with as few throws as possible. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the popularity of disc golf because it’s a sport in which people can easily social distance. 

“It’s one of those things that are still open,” Hubbard said. “When I go out there to check on the park, I at least see a group, if not multiple groups out on the course playing at any given time.” 

Hubbard occasionally takes up the sport himself. 

“It’s one of those things you can do as an individual or in a group of people,” he `said. 

Disc golf courses are slightly different than regular golf courses. There is the occasional water trap but instead of a sand trap or green there’s trees all around preventing players from trying to go for long throws through the air, and instead they need more speed and spin to get distance. 

“There are a couple holes that are in the wooded area of Riverview Park. Those are obstacles like sandtraps,” Hubbard said. “The hazards are the tall grass, the water and the trees.”

There aren’t any plans for any disc golf tournaments this year because of the pandemic.

“COVID has been a bad deal just like every other sport,” Snyder said. “But locally we have had the pleasure of having our course not affected by it.”

Hubbard advises players to continue social distancing.

“We’re asking that if you do go out you stay in a small group,” he said. “There’s plenty of space out there.” 

Synder is hoping to keep improving the course at Riverview Park. 

“I’m wanting to find a way to raise money for new baskets at the course to up the level of our course and to have the latest and greatest baskets,” he said. “Hopefully new baskets will get more out of towners to continue to come on day trips and play.” 

Synder wants to use the old baskets at other parks around Marshalltown and create more courses to “widen the reach locally.”

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Contact Thomas Nelson at tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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