ENGLEWOOD — Soon after Charlotte County laid out an 18-hole disc golf course at the Ann and Chuck Dever Regional Park in Englewood, disc golfers turned out flipping their Frisbees.
The course was laid out last week at the regional park and players were already there.
“Very cool course,” Tommy Webb wrote on the Charlotte County Disc Golfers Association Facebook page.
Rick Vassallo described the course as challenging. Many players appreciated having the course in Englewood, according to park staff. The Englewood course is not Charlotte County’s first.
Eric Buchanan played the Ann Dever course Wednesday and Friday and said, “It was super.” He’s been playing for 20 years.
“We started with one 18-hole disc golf course at North Charlotte Regional Park (in 2017), that is still rated as one of the best in all of Florida,” Community Services Director Tommy Scott said.
Charlotte has another 18-hole course at its South County Regional Park, 670 Cooper St. in Punta Gorda, and a nine-hole course at the Franz Ross Park, 19333 Quesada Ave., in Port Charlotte.
“During our park master planning process, the community expressed the need to expand this type of amenity into other areas of the county,” Scott said.
William Threm, a 55-year-old Port Charlotte resident, played the Ann Dever course Friday. He’s been into the sport for 40 years and has played disc golf on at least 100 courses in Florida.
“For most people, it’s addictive,” Threm said of disc golf. “It can become a lifelong pursuit.”
Threm rated the Ann Dever course as among the top 25 courses in the state. The first hole tee, a rectangular cement slab like the other tees, sets adjacent to the dog park. The course then weaves into the wooded area on the northern boundary of the regional park.
Not your daddy’s Frisbee
According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, Edward “Steady Ed” Headrick is considered the father of the sport.
Headrick, who was a Wham-O employee, is credited with holding the patent for the Frisbee and the patent for disc golf’s “pole hole.”
The idea is for players to fly their discs at hanging chains above a basket. If the disc becomes entangled in the chains or falls into the basket, then the player makes the hole.
The plastic discs differ in size and are designed to perform like golf drivers, irons and putters.
Unlike the classic flying plastic discs of the past, the various golf discs, generally with diameters of 8 to 8.5 centimeters, are more aerodynamically designed.
Just like the PGA, the PDGA holds its professional and amateur tournaments where the professionals compete for cash and the amateurs for prizes.
The 2018 world championship saw more than $107,000 in prize money divided among 92 male and 22 female competitors. In 2017, 3,521 events with 235,094 competitors saw more than $4.5 million in purses.
Last year, the PDGA had more than 41,000 active members, of which 79.4 percent were ranked as amateurs and remaining 29.4 percent were classified as professionals. Most members, more than 92 percent, were men.
Disc golf courses can be found in 13 countries with the U.S. having the most with 5,863 courses, Finland second with 467 and Canada third with 222.
For more information on disc golf, visit www.pdga.com. To catch up with local players, visit Charlotte County Disc Golfers Association Facebook page.