19 Apr Disc Golf: Bandon’s Other Golf Game
It’s a fairly undisputed fact that Bandon has one of the top golf courses in the world. Bandon Dunes is lauded for its rugged and beautiful setting, its similarities to links courses in Scotland, and the challenging holes that keep golfers on their toes. It’s golf as it was meant to be, as they say. It’s a littler-known fact that not everyone in Bandon plays golf with clubs and a little white ball. Bandon’s City Park has a fun and challenging disc golf course that is free to play and doesn’t require a tee time.
Disc golf as a sport was an idea conceived by George Sappenfield in 1965. A summer camp counselor, he was playing golf one day when it dawned on him that his campers could play golf using Frisbee discs. A few years later, as supervisor for Parks and Recreation in Thousand Oaks, CA, he contacted Wham-O, the company that manufactured Frisbees, and asked if they would sponsor a Frisbee golf contest. They sent him Frisbees and Hula Hoops to use as “holes,” and the first game was played. A year later, Sappenfield asked “Steady” Ed Headrick of Wham-O to include Frisbee golf in a Frisbee meet that Wham-O would be holding in Pasadena, the first time Frisbee golf would be played in an official capacity.
Over the next few years, “Steady” Ed developed the game and eventually formed the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), modeled after the Professional Golf Association (PGA) that Bandon Dunes players are more familiar with. In addition to holding the patent for the Frisbee itself, Ed also invented and patented the “pole hole,” the target in disc golf games, seen at nearly every disc golf course.
Disc golf is very similar to traditional golf in its rules and the way it is played. Players move from one hole to the next, throwing their disc into each pole hole in as few throws as possible. Trees, bushes, hills, etc. act as hazards along the way, making the game more interesting and challenging. The differences are enjoyable: much less, lighter, and cheaper equipment; typically no greens fee, and no tee time!
Bandon’s disc golf course, built in 2011, is located on SW 11th St. in the City Park. It is a 9 hole course using Mach V Pole Holes, the standard for championship level tournaments. The course takes players through the park, in and among the trees. Bandon even has its own disc golf tournament, played as part of the Cranberry Festival in September.
UPDATE! Great news! As of May, 2017, the 9-hole course at the Bandon City Park has been expanded to an 18-hole course! The Bandon Parks and Recreation Commission along with Bandon Public works and many volunteers added 9 new tee boxes to double the fun.