words and photos by Paul Treen
Hi, Akronites! Sorry it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Quarantine has got me cooped up at home, but now that the weather is cooperating, I’ve been able to get back into finding stuff for tweens to do in (and around) Akron.
We are in the summertime part of quarantine. That means getting out, social distancing, wearing a mask, taking care of our health and relieving stress. There is an easy sport to play while social distancing with friends: disc golf!
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It doesn’t take much, just some Frisbees (preferably small ones, quite cheap)and a good course to try it out. Here’s a list of the disc courses I’ve already tried:
- Wingfoot Lake State Park: 18 holes, though I recommend the front nine because afterwards the holes are a little scattered. There you’ll find well marked signs at each tee for long tees and short tees. It is shady, (as in lots of trees) grassy, and combines flat, open spaces with some hills and one water hazard. There are benches for taking a rest at many of the goals and in surrounding areas. Nice picnic tables and charcoal grills for picnicking, too! No bathrooms currently available.
- Boettler Park at the Southgate Park area in Green: Nine holes. Watch out for those weeds and prickles! This course is a bit rough for beginners. It can be hard to keep the frisbees and disks out of the rough. Tees and goals are not well marked to help find where the next is. It is shady to start, gets less shady in the middle, then ends back in the shade. There is a nice little lake by the 2nd and 3rd holes where folks can fish, but other than that, there are no benches or tables. Southgate and Boettler are adjacent. Boettler Park has fantastic facilities and the restrooms are open.
- Portage Lakes State Park: 18 holes. The maps are a bit confusing, and hole 14 cost us two frisbees. This course has the most shade and is more like a mini-hiking experience through the woods. There are long and short tees and each goal has an arrow hanging from the bottom of the goal basket pointing towards the next tee. There are not many clear shots without trees, but that is part of the challenge. There are several water hazards for new players because some of the goals are very near the lake. The nearby beach has only 2 bathrooms available without water or sanitizer, so come prepared with your own!
- Kent State University Disc Golf: 18 holes. I wasn’t going to even review it, but it is worth noting that I won’t be returning. You have to pay to park. We went because my mom wanted to find an ADA-compliant course and KSU came up first in the search. The course had some steep hills, and lots of roughs to lose your disc in. The goals were also hard to see; trimmed in dark blue instead of bright orange. The tees were not in an easy-to-find, logical order. The first tee from the parking lot was 11 and the next closest tee was 17. Then we found 12, but it was too steep for my mom’s knee. The 18th was nearby, steep and was missing a short tee. We did not see any benches or restrooms. Not worth the drive!
- Silver Creek Metro Park in Norton: OK, sort of a far drive. Somewhat worth it. If you can’t do without shade, you may not like this course. It was 90 degrees out, so I instantly decided to caddy without playing. There was barely any shade at all, so it wasn’t my favorite. My bag had some extra discs, a few flavoured water cans, a bottle of water, and a paperback book. Even though that’s about what we carry around, it felt like 10 pounds. It was that hot out! So try to get out before the sun is in full blast. The disc golf course is made in and around the University of Akron Cross Country course, so it is smooth and the hills are not steep. There is a restroom open in the parking lot. In another part of the park, south of the course, there is a beach, walking trails through woods, and restroom facilities.
I’d say they all have a fair difficulty. But if I had to choose, the easiest one would be Wingfoot Lake. Portage Lakes and Wingfoot Lake have lots of close-by picnic tables so if you pack lunch you can make a day out of it!
Stuff to bring:
- A device with the app UDisk downloaded. You create an account and search for a course. You then create a scorecard for when you play.
- A few frisbee disks. At least one for each player. If you’re interested, you can consider investing into a few disks intended for the game.
- Something to eat and drink. Frisbee golf is not a fast game. They can average from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how many people you golf with and how well you stay out of the rough.
- Suntan lotion.
That’s about all there is to the game.
We’re in this (COVID-19) together!
Till next time,
P. S. Wear a mask and wash your hands!