Scehenctady Central Park gets some press

11/30/2010 by John Borelli

Thanks for the news, Jeff W.

Winds make for challenging day for Scehenctady Central Park's disc golfers

Sunday, November 28, 2010
By Jason Subik
Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — Discs and snowflakes flew through the sky over Central Park Saturday as the park hosted its first-ever disc golf tournament.

The event, dubbed the Central Park Turkey Throwdown, was nationally sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association. Several of the top place competitors received cash prizes of approximately $100. Scores for the event contributed to the pro players’ national ranking, although it probably didn’t help most of them.

Cold weather and strong winds make for challenging disc golf conditions. Throwing discs into stiff wind can increase a disc golfer’s “strokes” per hole.

“It does make the discs fly around quite a bit more, it’s definitely more difficult to throw through the wind. Windy days make the scores go up, it can add five strokes easy to 18 holes,” said Jeff Wiechowski, the tournament director for the Schenectady Central Park Disc Golf club.

Disc golf has similar rules to regular golf, or as disc golfer’s call it “ball golf”, except it’s played in all but dangerous weather conditions. Players attempt to toss discs — they aren’t called Frisbees for legal reasons — into baskets which serve as holes. The discs are analogous to different clubs in golf, they very in size, weight and have slight differences in shape that affect how they are thrown. The different discs also have fun names like Rock, Leopard, Wraith, Firebird and Roadrunner. Instead of a driver, a disc golfer might use his Valkyrie disc. For short throws, his putting game, he could use his Aviar.

Each hole in disc golf is measured in feet, instead of yards. The 15th hole at Central Park is 513 feet from tee box to basket, a par 4.

The course, which includes baskets cemented into the ground and tee boxes marked with signs detailing length and par, was constructed over the summer using $5,000 from Schenectady County and another $5,000 raised through private donations. Central Park’s course, together with Hyzer Creek Disc Golf Course in Saratoga Springs and Joralemon Park in Coeymans — known as J-Park among disc golfers — give the Capital Region three venues for the sport, which has a national and international following.

Justin Hoffman, a city native who now teaches history at Schenectady High School, helped organize the Schenectady Central Park Disc Golf club and get the city approvals to build the course at Central Park. He said he first encountered the sport visiting his brother in Texas six years ago. Hoffman helped design Central Park’s course. He said disc golf is a great sport for kids and he saw lots of them playing in the amateur divisions at Saturday’s tournament.

“It’s a lot better than them sitting inside playing Nintendo,” he said.

Wiechowski said there were about 60 participants in the tournament Saturday, which included pro, amateur and junior divisions. A planned women’s division was scratched for lack of participants.

Hoffman said they are planning to organize a summer tournament where they hope to have more than 70 participants. He said before the end of the year the Schenectady Central Park Disc Golf club will merge with DisCap, the Disc Golf organization for the Capital Region, to create a larger regional presence for the sport.

Wiechowski said the next DisCap event will be a charity “Ice Bowl” Feb. 12, the weekend after the Superbowl.



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