(PHOTOS) New Disc Golf Course at DeKalb Memorial Park to be completed by summerAaron Schwartz makes a shot during a test play at the new disc golf course being installed at DeKalb Memorial Park on Wilkinson Drive in Southeast Atlanta on Sunday, March 20, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.
By Sara Amis and Dean Hesse, contributors
Atlanta, GA — A new disc golf course being installed at DeKalb Memorial Park should be complete in time for summer play.
Disc golf has similar rules to golf, but is played with discs that are similar to frisbees that are smaller and denser. The “holes” are baskets on a stand. The sport is widespread, with local and national organizations to promote it, and there are a few courses around the Atlanta area, including ones at Perkerson Park and Redan.
Ryan Sage, who helped coordinate Intown Atlanta Disc Golf Club’s effort to bring the course at DeKalb Memorial into being, says that disc golf is a great way to get people outside and use park space that otherwise tends to go under-utilized. He also says that unlike some other sports, the barrier to entry is low.
“I tried to play golf in high school. It’s expensive,” he said, adding that a three disc starter pack costs about $20. Sage says that a novice could play an entire round with just one disc, although judging by the disc golf enthusiasts who showed up for a play test March 20, most people have more than that.
Bill Jones, of the Southeastern Trust for Parks & Land, describes himself as an “excited neighbor.”
Jones lives in Kirkwood, and says that one of the advantages of disc golf is that it’s easy to get good enough to play. His organization is in the process of building a disc golf course in south Fulton County near Campbellton and is planning another in Blue Ridge.
“We think this goes really well with conservation land, and it gets people out and about in the park enjoying themselves,” said Jones. He also emphasized the casual, friendly nature of the sport. “I’ve made a mess of new friends doing this.”
Sage said that the Ricky Wysocki Foundation seeks to provide organizations with practice baskets and putters to get children interested in the sport. He has connected the foundation with seven local schools and after school organizations, including East Atlanta Kids Club, Atlanta Charter School, and Talley Street Elementary. Sage said that he would like to raise more funds for children’s groups and possibly bring them to the park for field trips.
John Ritger, who designed the course, said that IADGC had cleared out invasives and trash from the site. Trees Atlanta donated $40,000 worth of trees which the group planted.
“We’re bringing the forest back to life,” said Ritger.
DeKalb County provided 19 Prodigy T2 baskets for the course, while IADGC has raised money for the rest of the project and held play test events with temporary baskets to spark interest. After a final walk through with DeKalb County, the requisite landscaping and installation of tee pads, permanent baskets and signage can go forward. Sage expects the work to be complete by late spring or early summer. IADGC is continuing to raise money for the project via a GoFundMe and sponsorships.
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