Disc Golf Takes Off at the High School

High School PE students out on the course

A successful Weston High School June Academy project four years ago resulted in the design and construction of a disc golf course through underutilized areas of the high school /middle school campus. Now with twelve fun and challenging holes, the plan is to move forward with tee pads and permanent baskets. A WEEFC funding request has only half-funded the estimated $4,900 cost, with the remaining half looking for sponsors.

For those not familiar with the sport, and who might accidentally confuse it with the frisbee golf played at midnight at their brother’s college (ahem, go blue), disc golf is a “real thing” with its own governing body, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). It is played much like traditional golf with the objective of completing each hole in the fewest strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, the fewest throws).

A golf disc (sometimes referred to as a frisbee but only by amateurs, ummm, the Owl) is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the “hole.” As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive throw from the spot where the previous throw landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the “putt” lands in the basket, and the hole is completed (source: PDGA).

During the pandemic, disc golf experienced record growth in participation, sales, and PDGA memberships. Disc golf is a sport that is completely outdoors, allows physical distancing, and can be played in small groups or individually. In addition, it is a sport that does not require country club membership and expensive clubs.

Weston High School/Middle School course

There are other benefits to having a course at the Weston campus. According to Chris Fehl, Director of Visual Arts and the faculty leader of the WEEFC grant, disc golf has many benefits.

“Beyond the exercise achieved in throwing and walking the course, there are many mental benefits. Throwing discs and walking in the woods both help to relieve stress. In a recent interview, Paul McBeth, one of the best disc golf professionals today, talked about how this sport helped him get through his extreme shyness during the transition from middle school to high school. For him, disc golf was a game you could play and practice alone without looking or feeling weird.” Other professionals talk about how it was playing with friends that got them started.

“For me, disc golf is about ‘mindfulness’, as each throw requires a reading of the wind, estimation of distance and power, effective disc selection, and shaping my shot around the obstacles of that particular hole,” says Fehl.

Example disc golf basket (not Weston’s…yet) Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

In addition to continuing the June Academy offering and the WHS Disc Golf Club, high school and middle school physical education classes have begun to introduce the sport.

The requested permanent baskets are designed for year-round exposure to the elements. In addition, tee pads will be installed with wood frames filled with stone dust. The planned course extensions, tee pads and permanent baskets will not interfere with any current sports facilities on the campus and have been approved by Athletic Director Mike McGrath.

Along with the half-funding from WEEFC, Chris Fehl is hopeful that other sources will step up to make this course a done deal. For more information about Weston’s disc golf course, please contact Chris at fehlc@weston.org.

See you out there! Go ‘cats.

“When a ball dreams, it dreams it’s a Frisbee.” Dr. Stancil Johnson PDGA #009

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