Disc golf, like the more familiar form of golf, puts barriers in the way of its players to make the sport more challenging.
For traditional golf, there’s water hazards and bunkers. For disc golf, at least in Carson City, there’s pinion trees, sagebrush and a parking lot.
“The parking lot is our biggest obstacle,” said Gregg Swift.
Swift is a member of Eagle Valley Disc Golf Association (EVDGA), the group who for the last few years has been leading the effort to build Carson City’s first disc golf course.
The obstacle is a 48-space parking lot with bathrooms, shade structures and picnic tables that needs to be built before the disc golf complex can open.
The planned site is on 100 city-owned acres between Flint and Rifle Range roads, off Highway 50 East near the city landfill.
There EVDGA plans to put in two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole family-friendly course as well as the parking lot that will make it all possible. Swift, with Dell Martin and Paul Hanson, two other players who have been working on the project from the start, have already designed the first 18-hole championship course and 9-hole short course.
Building the courses is the relatively easy part. A few small trails will be cleared but the native vegetation remains and is part of the course.
The tee boxes, consisting of a rubberized surface on which players stand to throw their first disc, need to be laid and signs and maps installed so players can see where they’re going.
The three-foot high baskets that serve as the hole need to be placed. The metal structures sit inside metal collars in the ground and Swift said some holes will have multiple collars so baskets can be rearranged for variety.
But the parking lot, as Swift said, is the challenge.
The idea for the disc golf complex started in 2010, when organizers approached the city’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space department about land.
At the time, they looked at seven or eight properties, none of which turned out to be the right fit.
Then in 2014, the Bureau of Land Management transferred the 100 acre site off Highway 50 to the city.
“As soon as that happened we started designing,” said Swift.
But the completely undeveloped land needs a parking lot to accommodate players.
EVDGA received $10,000 in seed money from the city and is working with several sponsors, including Costco, Firehouse Subs and Knights of Columbus.
But the group hopes to raise the bulk of the money from a Land & Water Conservation Fund grant for $118,285 it applied for.
The grant, if it comes through, will cover the cost of putting in the parking lot and the first 18-hole and 9-hole courses, said Vern Krahn, senior park planner, Parks & Rec.
EVDGA is the sort of grassroots effort the city encourages to champion and raise outside money to fund local recreation projects.
“The group has been remarkable to work with,” said Krahn. “They’ve been very active through the whole process.”