Getting in on the ground floor of a new sport

Friday, August 25, 2006

McCook has long been known for its golfing opportunities, first with the Elks Club course now reborn as Broken Tee Par 3, and, for the past couple of decades, for Heritage Hills Golf Course.

Through the John Mullen Pro-Am, and by turning out world-class golfers, McCook is leaving its mark on the sport.

Now there's an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a relatively new sport that is gaining stature around the country as it grows in popularity.

Spearheaded by the McCook Rotary Club, the Kelley Creek Disc Golf Course needs only a few more sponsors to be completed by the end of the year.

Disc golf?

Although similar games have been around for years, the modern game got its start with the popularity of the Frisbee-brand flying disc toy in the 1960s. That's when, according to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Californian George Sappenfield saw an opportunity to marry a golf-type course with the flying toy, setting up a series of targets for kids to play on.

The game caught on, and the first permanent course was installed at the University of California-Berkeley in 1970.

But "Steady Ed" Headrick is known as the "father" of disc golf, working for the Wham-O Corp. which produced the Frisbee, and adding the "lines" to the disc to increase its stability. He also invented the disc golf basket, like the ones to be used at Kelley Park, which he sold through his family-owned company, the Disc Golf Association.

By early 2006, there were more than 2000 permanent disc golf courses installed around the world, most of them in the United States.

While specialized discs are now used by serious players, there's no reason beginning golfers can't enjoy the game using the common variety, officials said.

Designed by Dusty Rodiek of Amherst, a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association and course designer, McCook's course should be challenging and fun because of the trees and elevation changes.

Rodiek, who has designed nine courses over the years, said Kelley Park will have elements on par with championship courses in Kansas City and Des Moines.

For a one-time donation of $750, or a co-sponsorship of $400, organizations or businesses can sponsor a hole.

So far, the Optimists and Lions clubs have stepped forward, and the Elks and Sertoma clubs are considering it. Other sponsors include the McCook Community College Foundation, McCook National Bank, First Central Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, McCook city employees, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stull, the George W. Norris Foundation and Roger Moreau, in memory of his wife, Patsy.

McCook already has beautiful city parks, and the new Disc Golf Course is another reason for residents to get out and enjoy one of them. Plus, being located near McCook Community College and the McCook municipal swimming pool, the course will offer a new recreational opportunity for players of a variety of ages.

If you or your organization would like to sponsor a hole, contact Tor Olson at 345-1615, Duane Tappe at 345-7650 or Rhonda Vetrovsky at 345-2003.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: