November 14, 2016 — Spilman Park has a new attraction – a disc golf course! Disc golf, also known as Frisbee golf, is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and around the world (for some very good reasons I’ll share below). Spilman Park now boasts its own 18-hole disc golf course, completed just a few months ago through a partnership between Culpeper County Parks and Recreation Department and Mountain Run Disc Golf Club (MRDGC), made possible through a generous grant from the PATH Foundation, who is all about enhancing the health and vitality of our community.

John Barrett, Director of the Culpeper County Parks and Recreation Department commented, “Dennis came to us with this idea of putting a disc golf course in one of our existing parks. We toured some of the parks and came across Spilman Park, which was little used at the time. We felt this project was a good fit for a PATH Foundation Make it Happen! grant, which led to more than $15,600 in funding. In addition to the PATH Foundation grant, the county invested money into the preparation of the park. Volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Culpeper also helped out, providing dozens of hands-on laborers.”

On Saturday, November 12th, with perfect temperatures under beautiful blue skies, County Parks and Rec Department and MRDGC hosted a grand opening for the course, serving food and holding contests for giveaway prizes. Over 30 people participated in the event.

The game of disc golf is similar to traditional “ball” golf in some ways, and very different in others. Like ball golf, the goal is to complete the course in as few strokes or “throws” as possible. Also like ball golf, you start on a tee, traverse a fairway, and finish on a green. After that, the similarities are fewer. Instead of hitting a ball, you throw a flying disc toward the hole; but the hole is no longer a hole, but a metal basket suspended on a pole, with vertical chains suspended above the basket designed to catch the disc in mid-flight and deposit it in the basket below.

If you’ve thrown a Frisbee before or even played Frisbee golf back in the early days of the sport, you have the skills to play this wonderful sport, but you will have to adjust your expectations. When compared to ball golf, the disc not only replaces the ball but also the golf club – there are different types of discs with different weights and flight characteristics, which you select much in the same way as selecting a golf club for various situations/obstacles on the golf course.

Disc golf is a sport for all ages – it is a low impact sport, but can be as strenuous as you make it. Sometimes described as “a walk with a purpose”, most courses, like the one at Spilman Park, are constructed in public parks amongst trees, fields, and rolling hills. It’s also low cost – you can play a round with a single disc, which retails for around $10, and the majority of courses are free to play. Another big difference from ball golf: the course distances are much shorter for disc golf, measured in feet rather than yards, so a round takes a lot less time than traditional golf, typically around 90 minutes.

The motto of Mountain Run Disc Golf Club is “Time to Play!” – a call to action with a two-fold meaning. In our busy lives, we have to remember that sometimes the “Time to Play” is NOW – no time like the present to get some fresh air and exercise and de-stress for a while. In order to be able to take that step, we have to proactively make “Time to Play” in our schedules, or it will never happen. I hope to see you on the course!

Courtesy of Dennis Lutero, President, Mountain Run Disc Golf Club

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