One would be hard-pressed to find a more inclusive, fun and appealing sport as disc golf. It can be played by any age group or fitness level and more importantly it is a sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. The sport is also played in a wide variety of environments.
The idea for a local club grew from one family’s enjoyment for disc golf and blossomed into a small band of Culpeper-based enthusiasts named the Mountain Run Disc Golf Club (MRDGC), who decided to share and grow the sport with a larger population—incorporating the natural beauty and history of Spilman Park, a 27-acre historic county-owned park located in the northern tip of Culpeper County.
The park is managed by Culpeper County Parks and Recreation Department. To help cover the cost of the course Culpeper Parks and Recreation is seeking a grant through the Fauquier Health Foundation.
“We’re excited about this partnership with the disc club,” said John Barrett, Director of Culpeper Parks and Recreation. “We want to bring more recreational opportunities to this park.”
The 15-member MRDGC is seeking to build partnerships and expand local interest in disc golf.
“My goal is twofold, to get the word out about the club and what we’re trying to accomplish, as well as to let folks know about our upcoming charity event, a disc golf tournament right here in Culpeper,” said Dennis Lutero, president of the newly formed Mountain Run Disc Golf Club. “Last week, I went to the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors’ Building and Grounds Committee meeting, where Barrett and I briefed them on building a permanent disc golf course at Spilman Park. They’ve approved our idea and they are forwarding it to the full board for final approval.”
The MRDGC wants to establish its home course at Spilman Park with the construction of an 18-hole course—then it wants to expand the popularity of the sport, build partnerships with other clubs in the region and promote the sport within the community, according to its president. Planning and fundraising will be ongoing and planners are optimistic that an initial course will be built by mid-year.
This past weekend amid record-breaking cold temperatures a course designer helped lay out a course that will serve as a test course and place for the club to hold its first fundraiser. A virtual black-hole exists in Culpeper—with popular courses in many bordering counties, according to local players.
“Many thanks to John Biscoe for coming out and laying out the tournament course at Spilman Park for the Jester’s Ice Bowl on February 28th. The course will have 18 holes, span 5,000 feet and offer a par 55 course. He was out there for hours in sub-freezing temperatures– that’s dedication,” said Lutero. “It’s going be a great first tournament and we will test the layout for a number of permanent holes, as well as raise some funds and food for the Culpeper Food Closet.”
The aforementioned Ice Bowl charity tournament will be held this Sunday.
“Registration for the Ice Bowl is $30—this gives you a club membership, a disc and decal, plus a chance to win prizes and cash. Come play 18-holes of disc golf for a good cause and raise funds for Culpeper Food Closet,” said Lutero. “We are now fully permitted by the county for our tournament Sunday. We have Spilman Park reserved for the whole weekend, so we can do some prep and setup on Saturday. We’re looking forward to seeing a great crowd. We are thankful to Culpeper County Parks and Recreation Department for all the help and support in getting ready for this event.”
To those just learning about disc golf or thinking about giving it a try it has many similarities with “ball golf.” Disc golf shares a scoring system and a target or “hole.” In contrast, disc golf players shoot at a basket suspended on a pole that resembles a basketball goal. The throw or “swing” is more like tennis or other racquet sports, with backhand, forehand, and overhead throws, according to the Lutero.
“The trajectory or flight path of a disc is a thing of beauty. The laws of physics are very much at play, but the normal rules of ballistics do not apply. You will thrill at the sight of your first S-curve,” explained Lutero. “We have a great website: www.mountainrundgc.org with lots of links and other information on our club and the larger sport.”
Over the last few years Lutero has been an ambassador for the sport with demonstrations at Culpeper Christian School and at family-days held at Reformation Lutheran Church. He also hopes to partner with a local camp this summer.
“Our club’s jester logo is a tribute of sorts to Spilman Park. You see Spilman is an occupational German trade name that meant jester. A family of jesters if you will,” said Lutero with a smile. “It’s a great sport that kids to senior citizens can enjoy. Disc golf fills a gap in the sports and social landscape. Not every kid is cut out to play many of the mainstream sports but they can certainly enjoy and even excel at disc golf. One can be as competitive or as laid-back as they want with this sport.”
Marshall Conner is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org