Edward Sylvester: History of our disc golf course
The recent article in The Union about professional disc golf player Gregg Barsby brought forth a flood of memories as to how the course at Condon Park originated. The story of the development of the community course is a positive one of inspiration, organization, cooperation and perspiration.
The inspiration came from Grass Valley Rotarian Scott Roberson, who came by my house one Saturday afternoon and said, “Come on, I want to show you something.”
He took me to the disc golf course in Auburn, where he showed me how the game is played and more importantly, we saw families and people of all ages enjoying the outdoors and the fun of the challenge.
Scott wanted me to consider developing a local course as my incoming club president’s community project. I was hooked by the range of players and the minimal cost to participate. The organization came from the Grass Valley Rotary Club, which embraced the project and formed a committee to start the process.
Scott engaged Michael Travers, a local professional player, and amazingly convinced Ed Headrick, the founder and inventor of disc golf, to come to town and assist in the design and layout the course when we found a site.
The cooperation came on many levels. First we approached the city of Grass Valley to request permission to construct the course in an unused overgrown section of Condon Park.
The council was a bit skeptical at first, as disc golf was not a familiar sport. We went to a council meeting with Travers, who set up a goal in the back of the chambers. As we made our pitch, he flew a disc over the heads of the audience to a resounding clank into the basket. It sealed the deal!
The county cooperated by providing recreation funds for the goal baskets. The perspiration came after Travers and Headrick laid out the course, which thanks to their expertise has become a world-class course with many tournaments held here that bring revenue to the city.
Our club members cleared manzanita and brush, which was chipped and used along the course paths. The construction was managed by the late Glen Jones, who drove the process. The evidence of our members’ work was evidenced by the cases of poison oak that appeared at subsequent meetings.
We completed the construction and soon afterward held our weekly meeting on the course. We inaugurated it by all members having a disc provided by Westamerica Bank playing the course. Following lunch, we presented the course to the city of Grass Valley.
Our club is proud of this facility, which is free to the public and has provided entertainment for countless families over the years and inspiration for young men like Gregg. It is also a great example of cooperation between so many in the community to develop a community benefit.
Edward Sylvester was the president Grass Valley Rotary in 1991-92.
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“You’ve heard me say this before: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state” — Cal Fire Director Thom Porter.