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Disc Golf Course Hits St. Marys

August 26, 2011

Staff photo/Beth Lipton: Founder of the Grand Miami Disc Golf Course Nate Metz plays disc golf during a league competition in K.C. Geiger Park.

ST. MARYS — Disc golf can now be added to the list of recreational activities available at K.C. Geiger Park, as a new course has been installed and a league has formed.

League founder Nate Metz said disc golf, or Frisbee golf, is similar to golf.

“The goal is to throw your disc from a starting point, which would be your tee pad —  just like a tee box — and you have your basket, and the goal is to get your Frisbee in the basket in the least amount of shots as possible,” Metz said, noting that scoring is kept exactly like golf.

The cost to play disc golf is relatively low.

“A Frisbee is between $7 and $15, depending on what you want to buy — there’s putters, there’s mid-range shots, there’s drivers — Frisbees do different things,” he said.

Metz noted disc golf is an activity anyone can partake in.

“It’s the only sport I know that every age group (can play),” he said. “At one point in Columbus, I saw what looked like fifth or sixth-graders and their parents — and they were all playing — and their grandparents were walking along with them. You’re not going to find that on a basketball court.”

The 18-hole course is located at the sled hill in K.C. Geiger Park and travels on and around the hill and through the woods.

“It’s a short to medium-length course,” Metz said. “As far as difficulty goes, it’s probably medium just because there’s trees, and that’s what makes it fun.”

The league, which meets at 6 p.m. Thursday nights at the course, is open to people of all ages and skill levels. The group plays a doubles round, where players use the best throw between the two partners. Partners are randomly paired, enabling all skill levels to compete. The league costs $3 a night, and players have the opportunity to win some of their money back. One of the $3 is given to the winning pair, and the second dollar is put toward the Ace Race.

“If you hit a hole-in-one at any time during league, whatever that has built up to, you win,” Metz said, noting a player in Piqua recently won $40 in that league’s Ace Race.

The third dollar goes to the club, the Carter Creek Chain Snipers, which works to improve the course. Players may also contribute a fourth dollar to compete in Closest to the Pin.

“We also do a thing called ‘Closest to the Pin,’ and it’s a little side bet,” Metz said. “We always just throw in $1, and we pick a hole and whoever, from their drive, lands closest to it, wins the money.”

Metz said the course has gotten a lot of community support since its inception. He began pursing the idea of bringing a disc golf course to St. Marys after he heard that the city was considering it.

Metz contacted St. Marys Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock, who had Metz contact him at the beginning of the year. When Metz got back in touch with Hitchcock, he was told that only one other person said they were interested in the course, so it had been put on the “back burner.”

“My heart was broken because I travel all over to play,” Metz said, noting that he thought he could get more interest. Hitchcock told Metz that if he was able to show more interest, they would take the next step.

“I brought a petition out to the Y and a couple of other places just asking people to sign, and we got a boatload of signatures,” Metz said, noting that he also started a Facebook page.

After showing Hitchcock the petition, Metz and a few of his friends gave a presentation to the city parks board, who approved the course the next morning.

“They listened so well, and they liked the idea,” Metz said of the board. “Their first question was, ‘When can we play?’”

Area businesses have helped keep costs low for the course. Metz’s employer, Wooden Shoe Brewery, picked up the baskets for the course in Detroit, saving approximately $800. The baskets were then painted by Omni Manufacturing, saving approximately $100 per basket.

Volunteers installed the course, and the concrete was provided by the city. Metz also noted that St. Marys General Services Superintendent Denny Craft provided a lot of help.

“These woods — you couldn’t even see through them,” Metz said. “He (Craft) cleared them out. He made paths and made it safe for kids.”

Metz praised the city officials that helped with the course.

“Tom Hitchcock has met us on weekends to go over plans for it,” Metz said. “Where else do you get a city worker that comes in on a Saturday?”

In the future, Metz said the course will have tee signs, and he hopes to have sponsorships.

“We want to put in concrete tee pads next year,” he said. “If any businesses are interested in sponsoring, they can call me or the city.”

The course, which is open to the public during park hours, was named the Grand Miami Disc Golf Course.

“There’s Grand Lake St. Marys and it runs by the Miami and Erie Canal, so we thought ‘Grand Miami,’” Metz said of the name Craft inspired.

Metz encouraged anyone interested to come to the league Thursday nights.

“I just want anyone that has any questions to just come out and play,” he said.

For more information on the course or the league, contact Metz at 419-733-9794 or “Like” the “Grand Miami Disc Golf Course at K.C. Geiger Park” page on Facebook.

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