James Rada, Jr.
Emmitsburg could have its own disc golf by next spring. The town commissioners approved the design of an 18-hole disc golf course in Community Park during their October meeting.
Disc golf is played similar to golf. Instead of hitting a golf ball into a hole, players throw Frisbees into baskets. Its popularity has soared in recent years because it is an inexpensive sport for both the player and the course owner.
A $14,000 Community Parks and Playground Grant will fund the cost of the course. Fredrock Disc Golf, the group that designed and built the Woodsboro disc golf course, designed the Emmitsburg course to use some of the unused park area in Community Park. Also, the design does not require any mature, healthy trees be removed. Only dead and diseased trees and invasive species of plants will be removed.
“Disc golf is an activity that everybody can participate in,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners. “If you can walk, if you can be in a wheelchair, if you can get around, you can participate in disc golf.”
Town Clerk Madeline Shaw came up with the idea for the disc golf course and did the research to determine its feasibility. She said she was looking for an idea that would utilize more of Community Park (roughly only half of the park acreage is used now) and promote walkability and healthy lifestyles.
Woodsboro, Walkersville, and Middletown have disc golf courses, and Willets talked to staff at those towns to find out how they liked their courses. She said one town manager told her he was “amazed by how many people get out and just walk and get the exercise.” The length of Emmitsburg’s course is estimated to be about two miles.
The commissioners had some concerns over the placement of some of the holes and whether they would be in water when it rained. Fredrock representatives said if water becomes an issue with a hole, it can be relocated to a dry fairway within a few hours.
Although the Town of Emmitsburg will provide minimal weeding and clearing, volunteers with Fredrock will maintain the course in a similar way to how the town’s mountain biking trails are maintained.
If things go as planned, the town could host a ribbon-cutting for the course in April. Commissioner Tim O’Donnell suggested it might even be possible to have a tournament during Community Heritage Day.
The commissioners approved the course 4-1 with the understanding that the layout could be modified if needed. Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, was the dissenting vote.