2023: A look ahead

Winter Doubles League begins Jan. 1
Hoffman Park Ace Place a top priority

* 2022: Year in Review
* Fisher Cup

FROSTBURG — One of the biggest accomplishments in the Allegany County Disc Golf Club‘s first eight months of existence was obtaining approval from Frostburg city officials for what is to become the Hoffman Park Ace Place in Frostburg. If all goes as planned, it will become the first public disc golf course in Allegany County.

But that’s not even close to all we have planned for 2023.

There is a mix of keeping what worked this year, making a few tweaks here and there, and adding some new events and ideas to the lineup in the new year. Remember, everything the club wants to do, or tries to do, is built from the foundation of the club’s mission statement (which is a living document, subject to change).

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

Hoffman Park Ace Place

The Frostburg City Council approved using federal grant money to fund the project, estimated to cost $8,500 (plus tax). As that approval came just before Christmas, the next steps would be to pay for and order the baskets and related equipment, and then wait for decent weather for Innova-affiliated Brad Lescalleet to travel to Frostburg and lay out the nine tee pads and basket locations.

With that in place, the next steps will include some course work once the ground thaws. We will be asking for volunteers to help.

Shortly after that, there will be a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the opening of the Hoffman Park Ace Place. We’re working on lining up a fantastic guest to help break in the new course.

When the course is playable, the club will add the Hoffman Park Ace Place to the rotation of current courses at Mile Lane, Central and The Glades at Meshach Run in Accident for leagues and/or special events.

Stay tuned … because that’s not the only side project the club has going on that front.

Winter Doubles League

Breaking down the doubles season into two distinct leagues allows the club to recognize additional division winners. Fall Doubles League division winners (Bill Shreve – Advanced, Kevin Spradlin – Rec, and Noah Davis – Youth) will receive free entry into the club’s first tournament. The Allegany County Disc Golf Doubles Championship is planned for Saturday, March 4. The club is planning a two-round, two-site event (weather permitting). Registration will open in January.

That said, Winter Doubles League division winners will also be vying for free entries. Points are re-set to zero on Jan. 1. Should any of the Fall Doubles League division winners repeat, they will have the ability to choose to give a free entry to a player of their choice. That selection does not necessarily mean those two players would be a pair in the tournament, though. That would be up to them.

Winter Doubles League begins Jan. 1 and runs nine weeks through Feb. 26. The points method will be tweaked slightly from the Fall Doubles League.

Allegany County Doubles Championship

Weather-permitting, what the club has in mind is a two-site, two-round event that includes the courses at Central Assembly of God in Cumberland and Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage.

At this point, details are still in the works as far as entry fee, player packs, etc. Lunch will not be included (in part in order to keep costs for players down). However, there will be a scheduled lunch break of approximately 90 minutes between the end of the first round and the start of the second in order for players to have time to grab some grub.

We will be looking for a few volunteers to help with this event as well.

Noah Davis, 8, of Frostburg, works on his forehand.

Spring Youth League

Our Fall Youth League ran for five weeks, in between many or most youth leagues for other sports, and was a fantastic success. It was so much fun seeing the young folks throw plastic. If the club is to realize its long-term vision of having club teams at the middle school and high school levels, this is where it starts.

To that end, we plan to offer a Spring Youth League in, you guessed it, the spring. It will again be four to five weeks long. No cost. Stay tuned for details.

Supporting existing events

Saturday Morning Tag League at Mile Lane Disc Golf in Mount Savage was an absolute blast in 2022. We hope the Mallery family brings it back in the coming year. If so, the club will do our best to support it and the 3rd annual Summer Fling Doubles Tournament in August at the same place. The club was well-represented in 2022 at the Summer Fling.

Even though we don’t get much love (or, for that matter, even a single mention) in the background (or on social media) from the other group, the club will also support the putting league as much as possible on Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Jan. 12 through March 9 at the Family Life Center of Living Waters Church, located at 17222 Assembly Lane SW in Lonaconing. Though the club continues to understand that disc golf is, at its core, a secular sport, the club is grateful for those in the private sector (where ever they are) for supporting the local disc golf community. Besides, the cost is perfect — free — and aligns with the Allegany County Disc Golf Club’s goal to keep the game affordable and accessible. David Warder had the idea for a putting league a year ago. The ACDGC looked into it for this winter, but a great place at a good cost, on the nights we wanted it, could not be found. Thankful for David for following through on his great idea.

That same group is expected to bring back Thursday Night Tag League starting in mid-March through early October for a third year. We’ll be there some Thursday nights.

Stephanie Spradlin, left, placed second in the Summer Flex League Women’s Division. Krystal Mallery was third. Not pictured: Division winner Becky Shreve.

Summer Flex League

Summer Flex League will be back for Year 2 in 2023. A very similar format. Free entry. Rotating courses. Flex from Friday morning through Monday evening. Hopefully cash prizes or gift certificates once again.

Along with adding Hoffman Park Ace Place, the club is hopeful that Locust Post Brewery, in Little Orleans, has completed its private nine-hole course. We hope to obtain permission and include that course every now and again throughout the different leagues.

Fall Youth League

Just like SFL, Fall Youth League will be back for round two in 2023. Likely between Labor Day and early October, just as in 2022. Stay tuned.

Fall Doubles League

Fall Doubles League 2023 (and Winter Doubles League 2024) will return in a very similar format as what players are currently seeing. One addition is expected to be the inclusion of the Hoffman Park Ace Place in the rotation of courses.

Glow League? 

This is something that could happen. We’re thinking a one night a week for four to six weeks, probably in late summer. Even if we don’t get a full glow league going, you can expect some glow rounds scattered throughout the year (and not only in the colder months). Regardless, the club has enjoyed helping (in conjunction with Mile Lane Disc Golf) to introduce nighttime disc golf to more players.

Keith Raynor goes for the putt while teammate Bill Shreve looks on during Fall Doubles League 2022 competition.

Special events

The club has a growing list of creative ideas for special events, and the understanding that not all of them would have to be played in Allegany or Garrett counties. There could be some value in staging an event at Ditto in Hagerstown. There is an established disc golf community — larger than what we have here — and there’s a reasonable thought that we could attract some of those players over this year every once in a while.

Among the possibilities:

  • Best score tournament. In this event, at least two players on each card. Each player pays an initial registration fee. If the player wants to play a second round, the player pays a nominal fee to do so. Best score on each hole counts for overall score. A player could play as many times as they want within the specified time period.
  • Speed disc golf event. This could level the playing field between player who routinely score better, but play at a slower pace throughout 18 holes. The idea is that overall results for each player are one part number of strokes plus one part number of minutes it took to complete the designated course.
  • The club envisions a two-day, two-site event. We’ll see if we can make that happen in 2023.

Fisher Cup

The club envisions a regional 12-month competition. Each month, one course (outside Allegany County) would be designated as the course to play. Possibilities would remain somewhat regional and could include courses within approximately a two-hour drive. If this goes well enough, we could then choose 12 different courses in 2024.

Details coming soon, but the idea is that the winner each year is awarded the Fisher Cup. Why “Fisher?” Stay tuned!

Community events

Having a presence at the Western Maryland Craft Beverage Festival at Hoffman Park in Frostburg in September was a rousing success. We met people, we threw discs, and we networked. The value of that day can’t be overstated, and we’re hopeful of adding to the list of events and expanding beyond Frostburg.

Hopefully the FSU Block Party will return in 2023 (we have no reason to believe now that it won’t). The club has a list of other events that we hope to be a part of this year, but we have to balance that with how much time it takes away from actually playing the game. In addition, participation in these events require more than one or two of the same volunteers. What’s the answer? Get involved! Many hands make light work, or something like that. The more we come together for the greater good as a disc golf community, the better for all of us.

Outreach

In 2022, the club hosted two youth clinics. We hope to have at least three next year.

We also have reached out already to certain groups — civic organizations, youth groups, etc. — in order to try and get something on the books whenever the weather warms up. This could be an awful lot of fun!

Nick Willmon attempts a putt on long No. 6 at Central.

Sustainability of ACDGC – and next steps

That seems to be a convenient segue into next steps for the Allegany County Disc Golf Club. In 2023, we will be pursuing nonprofit status. That means we need to put together a board of directors.

At least at the start, there are only going to be a couple of conditions for potential board members. First, they cannot currently be an officer on a board of another disc golf organization based in Allegany County. Second, board members must understand that in order to avoid perceived conflicts of interest, board members will not be permitted to  benefit from certain special club programs, such as the ambassador program.

Player of the Month / Player of the Year 

The club was founded on May 14, 2022. The first Player of the Month award winner in June 2022 and received a $5 gift certificate. It went to $10 in August, a bit overboard in September, then settled in with a $15 value from October on. The goal is to sustain that as a minimum. If there are ways to improve that, so be it.

It is an honor and a privilege for the club to be a small part of each player’s disc golf life, and to have the opportunity to recognize your achievements.

The first Player of the Year will be awarded in early 2023. Through a generous corporate donation, the prize pack is valued at just over $200.

Ambassador Program

We want to create Team Allegany County Disc Golf Club in 2023. We kinda start it earlier this year when we had Scott Smith, of Carpendale, W.Va., and Frostburg resident Justin Morgan team up to represent the club at the 2nd annual Summer Fling Doubles Tournament in Mount Savage. The club paid for their team entry.

We’d like to build on that concept —flush out both the perks and responsibilities of being a club ambassador, as well as the obligations of the club to select and support those players. That’s a big part of what the new board members will do — create and implement the ambassador program.

Hunter Wathen, a 21-year-old Frostburg State University, learns that disc golf offers a balancing act.

In general, though, the idea is to support selected players — as funding permits — to participate in area tournaments that could help lead other participants back to Allegany County to play. So, for 2023, the tournaments the club would support players by paying a share of the player’s entry fee would likely limited to 90 minutes in any given direction. Think Hagerstown, Greencastle, Altoona, Winchester and Fairmont.

Wanna help guide the ambassador program as a board member? See Kevin.

Merch

In part to support the ambassador program, as well as work towards other goals, the club intends to create and offer merchandise for the 2023 season. We hope to find the balance between affordability and quality.

Hall of Fame

One goal of the Allegany County Disc Golf Club will be to create the Allegany County Disc Golf Club Hall of Fame. Yes, it’s early. The club’s been around for only eight months. But we’re thinking of the future here, and there’s no time like the present to begin laying the foundation for permanency within the Allegany County amateur sports landscape.

The idea would be to recognize individuals who, on and/or off the course, have a significant and positive impact to the Allegany County disc golf community. They would not have to be club members. There would be no residency requirements.

Incoming board members will have the chance to weigh in on this issue more.

 

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