As a child, outside games included standing in the yard tossing a lightweight flying disc known as a Frisbee back and forth to each other. After a few rounds of throwing, catching and dodging, the disc would end up on the roof of someone's house or crunched under the wheels of a passing car. Today, that same flying disc has been streamlined and is being embraced by a new generation, not as a toy, but as the popular competitive sport of disc golf.
Disc golf is played the same as the traditional game of golf but clubs or balls are not required. As in regular golf, the purpose of the game is to complete each hole with the fewest number of strokes or tosses. The “hole” in this case is not in the ground; it is an elevated metal pole with an attached basket that catches the disc.
Because of the booming popularity of this outdoor sport, new disc golf courses have been built in three Oklahoma state parks and are now open for play.
At Lake Eufaula State Park near Checotah, the nine-hole course at Hummingbird Beach is described as challenging because of the diverse play areas.
“Most courses are built where it's very open and easy to maneuver,” explains Glen Neal, a park employee who, along with J.D. Ridge, helped design the course. “At this course, the obstacles are areas of thick trees, brush and tight fairways that can really test your playing skills.”
In addition to baskets placed strategically among the trees, there are numerous doglegs, winding fairways and out-of-bounds tallgrass roughs.
At Natural Falls State Park near West Siloam Springs, there are 18 holes; but because of the separate locations of the front and back nine, each offers a different playing experience. The front nine, described as easy, are located adjacent to the paved Pine Ridge walking trail in a smooth, shortgrass open area of the park. However, beyond the bridge that overlooks the picturesque waterfall, players will encounter a completely unique situation on the back nine. Here, the course follows along the path of the Ghost Coon Trail and brings you to a prairie-type setting with tall grasses and field timber. Because of doglegs, hills and grassy rough areas, this part of the course is described as moderate to challenging.