Recreation Commission gives three thumbs up for public disc golf effort

Next up: Club seeks Mayor, Council approval

* Club submits proposal
* Disc golf a hit at Craft Beverage Festival
* Allegany County Disc Golf Club on Facebook

FROSTBURG — The three voting members of the Frostburg Recreation Commission on Wednesday night each gave a “thumbs up” approval to an effort to design and install a public disc golf course in city limits.

The Allegany County Disc Golf Club submitted on Oct. 11 a proposal that would build an “Ace Place,” or pocket disc golf park, to Hoffman Park. The club’s goal is to have a public course open for play sometime in 2023. The Recreation Commission’s endorsement means the issue will now go to Mayor Bob Flanigan and the City Council for consideration. The date of that meeting is not yet known.

This Google Maps image shows the boundaries of Hoffman Park in Frostburg.

For 40 minutes on Wednesday at the Frostburg Municipal Building on Broadwater Street, though, the sport of disc golf took center stage in discussions during a public meeting with commission members, along with Water, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Nina Forsythe, Director of Parks and Recreation Brian Vought, and Kevin Spradlin, of the Allegany County Disc Golf Club. Commission members asked several questions about the project, which was detailed in a nine-page document with attachments three weeks earlier.

One concern was that baskets shouldn’t be placed where vendors set up for special events such as the Western Maryland Craft Beverage Festival. Spradlin said that could be avoided in the design phase with course designer Brad Lescalleet, who has tentatively agreed to work with the Allegany County Disc Golf Club and the city of Frostburg on the project. Vought said that even if a basket were to be placed in proximity to a vendor’s set-up location, the basket itself could be removed, if necessary, for special events.

The plan for the Ace Place — a disc golf course concept aimed at beginners and newer players to the sport — is to include up to nine baskets and natural tee pads that feature lengths of between 100 and 200 feet per basket, or hole. Such a concept is “a great option,” Lescalleet said in the club’s proposal. “This is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. It’s accessible for all levels of play (and) requires far less land than a larger course … The general idea is a course that is (roughly) 100 (to) 200 foot holes as a place to introduce new players, keep learning players engaged, and provide experienced players a place to hone their short game.”

The baskets and fairways would be designed away from existing Hoffman Park features, including the softball field, the amphitheater, the pavilion and playground. Spradlin said the only overlap would be the park’s walking path. He highlighted other courses, both private and public, that have walking paths along the playing areas. Spradlin said disc golf players follow a key etiquette: If there’s someone down range and it’s  not safe to throw, they wait until it’s safe to do so.

Another area to be looked into is the right of way regarding the power line. Vought said that land might be owned by a private company. At The Glades at Meshach Run public disc golf course at Deep Creek Lions Community Park in Garrett County, the power line area is used as a fairway, with the basket for the hole being on the edge of the property line. Vought said city staff could look at maps to determine the exact property boundaries and learn what, if any, permissions might be requested of any private entity.

Commission members also questioned how much of the existing vegetation might need to be cleared. Spradlin emphasized that relatively little clearing would be required, and that the existing trees and vegetation are parts of the course to accentuate. Forsythe asked if players hit the trees with their discs.

“Well, I do,” Spradlin said, noting that most every player hits trees at some point.

One commission member asked about the cost to play. Spradlin said disc golf is one of the most affordable sports to begin playing. Players only need one or two discs to begin playing, and used discs can often be purchased for as little as $5. Even new discs can often be purchased for as little as $6. Also, local clubs often have discs that new players can borrow at no cost. Spradlin said the cost of league play varies, often ranging between $5 and $10 per league round. However, league competition is not required and in the case of the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s case, many events — Summer Flex League, youth clinics and the Fall Youth League — all were free. Even the ongoing Fall Doubles League has a $5 weekly fee that is optional for each player in a given week.

The club has proposed a 50-50 funding partnership with the city on the project, estimated to cost $8,500 for the nine baskets, tee signs, “next hole” signs and course design and consultation from Lescalleet. Spradlin suggested the city’s share, if approved, could possibly come from federal or state funding sources. Vought said the project offers great “bang for the buck.” The same meeting agenda included $68,000 for concession stand renovations, and $36,000 for a new pickleball court, among other projects.

The Allegany County Disc Golf Club was founded on May 14. Spradlin first met with Vought on May 18 at the Frostburg pool to discuss various disc golf-related ideas, including areas to play temporarily and permanently. Hoffman Park was one of a few sites within city limits that were discussed. The club conducted its first site visit on June 7 at Hoffman Park with Spradlin, Keith Raynor and Jim Buser, two area residents and avid disc golf players who have significant experience with course preferences, course work and design. On July 31, Spradlin met with Lescalleet and his wife at Hoffman Park. Within seconds, Lescalleet agreed Hoffman Park was an ideal site for an Ace Place disc golf course, and the three discussed details for the next hour.

If approved, the Hoffman Park site would become the first public disc golf course in Allegany County. The county has two private courses — Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage, and another at Central Assembly of God in Cumberland.

AlleganyPlayground photo
Mason Barrett, 9, of Frostburg, made two of three shots in the putting contest and won a free disc during the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s demonstration in September at the Western Maryland Craft Beverage Festival at Hoffman Park in Frostburg.

 

 

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