Disc golfers propose course to Enumclaw council

While Enumclaw has long boasted of a traditional golf course on the eastern edge of town, all indications are a more modern attraction – disc golf – is headed to a site to the city's west side.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf in that the players try to throw their disc into a basket in as few throws as possible.

While Enumclaw has long boasted of a traditional golf course on the eastern edge of town, all indications are a more modern attraction – disc golf – is headed to a site to the city’s west side.

When members of the City Council gather Monday night, it’s anticipated they will authorize an agreement with the Pierce County Disc Golf Players Association. The resolution before them will spell out the development of a course on the 10-acre Farmers Park.

The park sits on the southwest corner of the intersection of state Route 164 and 288th Avenue Southeast.

The agreement has been endorsed by both the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and a council committee.

A major selling point is the cost to the city: the process of converting the park to a disc golf course is zero. The Disc Golf Players Association has agreed to design, fund, install and maintain the attraction. The city’s only responsibility will be to mow the grounds and remove trash, which is already on the schedule.

Also free is the cost to anyone wishing to play the course once it’s completed. It remains a public park, open to all. The only scheduling conflicts would come when the association hosts organized events.

The local disc golf aficionados are a nonprofit entity that has existed since 2004. According to a memo from Michelle Larson, the city’s recreation manager, the group works with agencies throughout the region “to develop and promote disc golf as a low-cost, environmentally-conscience recreational activity that is fun for players of all ages.”

Disc golf has continued to rise in popularity since its infancy in the early 1960s. There are now an estimated 4,000 course in the United States – 5,000 around the world – and the game is played in more than 40 countries.

Disc golf already has a foothold in the region. There is a 30-basket course at Crystal Mountain, there are opportunities in Auburn and the city of Maple Valley is building a course at Lake Wilderness Park that is expected to open in October. The Pierce County group maintains two courses, one in Sumner and one in Lakewood.

The association initially pitched its idea to the Enumclaw Park Board in 2015, then came again to the city in April of this year.

“The Park Board was thrilled to have something so great fall into our community’s lap that would promote positive recreation in Enumclaw, with no expense or liability to the city,” Larson’s memo added.

The association’s presentation details a nine-hole layout but, with two “tee pads” per hole, the course is expanded to 18 holes.

What is disc golf?

According to the association’s written presentation to the Enumclaw Park Board disc golf is much like traditional golf, but: “Instead of hitting a ball into a hole, you throw a more streamlined looking Frisbee® disc into a supported metal basket. The goal is the same: to complete the course in the fewest number of shots. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to each basket, which is the “hole.” As players progress down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs and terrain changes in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the “putt” lands in the basket and the hole is completed.

Construction requirements

Each of the holes will have two concrete tee pads, each measuring 5 feet by 12 feet. Each of the nine baskets rises from the ground on a steel pole set in concrete; it’s estimated there will be 54 concrete “anchors” so the baskets can be moved, allowing variety for players and reducing soil compaction. Additionally, benches will be installed throughout the course.

While the park’s natural vegetation creates desired obstacles and makes for an appealing course, the association has stated that a few trees might be removed to allow for the game’s natural flow.

The Disc Players Association figures the Farmers Park course can be completed for about $9,500.

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