Disc golf at The Meadows in Greenfield

  • Micah Franzman of Greenfield throws his disc while playing disc golf at The Meadows golf course in Greenfield on Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Jeff Fleury of Hatfield drives his disc while playing disc golf at The Meadows Golf Course in Greenfield on Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Steve Tous, of Wilbraham, throws his disc while playing disc golf at Meadows Golf Course in Greenfield Saturday, August 27. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Nate Eckhoff of Monson throws his disc while playing disc golf at The Meadows golf course in Greenfield on Saturday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhart

For the Gazette
Published: 8/30/2016 2:14:01 AM

GREENFIELD — Neil Graham, 25, of Chicopee looked out over the stretch of green field before him, eyeing his target: the metal disc golf basket set hundreds of yards away. In an instant, he whipped his arm and sent the disc flying.

Graham and his friends Steve Tousignant, 32, and Josh Belliveau, 36, both of Wilbraham, turned out to play disc golf Saturday at The Meadows Golf Course. For the first time, The Meadows offered disc golf in addition to regular golf throughout the day.

“We don’t really get to do the combination of ball golf and disc golf,” Belliveau said. With special pricing, participants paid $10 to play disc golf all day, $12 for regular golf and $15 for both.

The sport is similar to regular golf, but uses flying discs instead of a ball, which are aimed at a disc pole hole — a pole with chains and a basket where the disc lands.

Disc golfers were eager to try out their skills on a new course, as each course presents different challenges.

“I personally am very excited about this just because of the length of the course,” Tousignant said. “I’m always looking for more challenges.”

“This is a little more open and a lot longer (than the courses I’m used to),” Graham added. “You get to air out your arm a little, see how far you can throw it.”

Chris Barden of Pure Flight Disc Golf and Ultimate, an Amherst company that focuses on promoting the sport as well as retail equipment sales, designed the nine-hole disc golf course alongside the existing course. Pure Flight representatives first came to explore the property in early spring, and proposed the idea of a disc golf course to The Meadows general manager Ron Riopel.

“It’s a perfect marriage for The Meadows,” Riopel said. “I believe the Greenfield community needs something that’s family-oriented.”

Riopel said he wants to make The Meadows a family fun center. He is exploring adding miniature golf, a batting cage and opportunities to kayak on the adjacent river, as well as regular disc golf.

Adding regular disc golf could produce revenue for The Meadows all winter long, Riopel said, whereas once the first frost comes, traditional golf ends for the season.

“We’ve played in two feet of snow,” said Drew Gardner, director of disc golf development with Pure Flight.

Regular golfers and disc golfers were able to play alongside each other throughout the day using ordinary etiquette, with regular golfers being given the right of way.

“People are very conscious of staying out of your line,” said Pete Charron, co-owner of Pure Flight.

Pure Flight offered loaner discs for participants who did not have their own equipment. Charron said the event would increase many people’s familiarity with disc golf, which is becoming increasingly popular, with more than 300 new disc golf courses opening each year.

“We also find that people play disc golf because they can’t afford traditional golf,” Gardner said. Disc golf provides a cheaper alternative, as the primary expense is discs.

Riopel said he was encouraged by a large turnout f.

“I’m quite impressed by the number of people here,” Riopel said. “I did not expect to see this kind of crowd.”

Riopel discussed the possibility of holding disc golf tournaments, or offering the game while bands play on Sundays. Some players suggested designing an 18-hole course, which could attract even more participants.


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