Gregg Swift throws his disc into the basket.
Photo by Kyler Klix.
With more people looking for outdoor recreation, Carson City offers just that at the Carson Ridge Disc Golf and Interpretive Trails Park. The park opened three years ago, but through hard work and improvements, it’s ready to be featured as a premier disc golf course in Nevada.
“This is a great way to offer the community an outdoor exercise game,” said Michael Plansky.
Plansky and a team of volunteers have been working to improve the quality of the course and are ready to host its first big event: A disc golf tournament with a festival vibe. The event will introduce the course to the public and give beginners a chance to learn about disc golf. There will be music, food trucks, clinics for beginners and more. Mayor Lori Bagwell is a special guest for a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“I’m super excited to showcase this beautiful outdoor recreation venue, and I think it’s going to be good for residents and visitors alike to show off the beauty of Carson City,” Bagwell said. “Thank you to all of those volunteers that had vision to make this a reality.”
She said it was an honor to work with the foundation for Carson City Parks and Recreation to make this a reality.
The event revolves around the disc golf tournament, and it will feel like a festival with live music, food trucks and more. There’s room for 72 players, and they can sign up at https://bit.ly/3RPqO4N.
If you’re curious about disc golf and want to try it, there will be clinics where people can borrow discs and try different discs to see what works best for them.
“Come out and see this beautiful asset if you haven’t been out here,” Plansky said.
At around 2 p.m., the tournament will be down to eight players for the final nine holes. Attendees will be encouraged to go out to the course and watch the end of the tournament, so people could be inspired by the best players of the day, Plansky said. He hopes that is the recipe to get people into disc golf.
“By teaching them, then encouraging them to watch the best, hopefully they’ll be inspired to come back and keep trying it.”
Carson Ridge Disc Golf Park boasts a 4.6 rating according to udisc.com. That makes it a top park in Nevada to play. Plansky and a team of volunteers have been working on it for almost three years. Almost every day someone can be seen on the course helping out.
“It’s really a model for sustainable and accessible disc golf course design,” Plansky said.
There is a nine-hole beginner course, then there is a more advanced 18-hole course. The entire course includes interpretive signs, which gives the players information about plants, animals and history in the area.
Part of the course construction entails building up the trails to make sure there is minimal impact to the ecology. Plansky, who wrote his master’s thesis on disc golf design, helped to create a course that uses natural materials that reveals and accentuates the desert ecology.
Plansky said they work on thickening the landscape materials to keep the soil from getting compacted and it keeps the weeds down. He said the importance of trails is to keep people on designated walking areas because a lot of courses become trampled.
He said the stonework and architecture is state of the art as well. With natural stone benches and walls throughout the course. The first hole on the Pony Express Course shows off some of the craftmanship right away on the first tee.
The tee for hole No. 1 on the Pony Course shows off impressive stonework right at the beginning of the course.
THE BEGINNER COURSE
“The Pony Express 9 is the perfect place to get a feel for the game and see if it’s for you,” Plansky said.
It’s a short 9-hole course that takes about 20-30 minutes to complete as most the holes are shorter than 80 feet. Because of the trail system built up, it’s easy to walk on and very accessible for people.
THE STADIUM COURSE
The Stadium course takes about 2.5-3 hours to go through. It gets its name because it travels through a canyon that resembles a stadium.
“The design is good, once you play, the design really flows with the shape of the land. It stays to contour so it keeps erosion at bay,” Plansky said. “What really puts it over the top is the trails and landscape and signs and stonework all together. There’s one spot on the ridge where you can see almost every hole on the course.”
Daniel Algeria said he’s been playing disc golf for 10 years. He’ll be out on a course first thing in the morning and some days play from dusk to dawn and put in nine rounds in a day.
“I love it, I play it every day,” he said. “I play through anything — rain, sleet snow, we just like to have fun.”
He said disc golf changed his life because it helped give him a healthy lifestyle. He was 300 pounds before he started playing and now he is 185 pounds.
“I’d rather play disc golf and throw and walk to the basket,” he said. “My shirts were 3X and now my shirt sizes are large.”
He’s proud of his 28 aces (hole-in-ones) over his career. Dayton is his home course and he loves playing anywhere, but he said Carson is one of the best.
Each hole on the Carson Ridge Disc Golf and Interpretive Trails displays factoids about history, animals and plants in the area.
EASY TO GET STARTED
The course in Carson City is free to try. All you need to bring is your own discs, and a way to keep score. You can look online for rules and regulations. There’s also several courses throughout the region. There are courses in Reno, Gardnerville, Indian Hills, Dayton and around Lake Tahoe.
The discs can be found at most sporting stores. Out on the course you’ll see young kids, older people, men and women. As the sport grows, Plansky hopes there will be more clubs for children to get involved.
The Facebook Group has a disc guide to help beginners to find what’s right for them. A complete set of rules can be found online here: bit.ly/2Zi2G2N.
The course depends on volunteers to keep it going.
“We need an army to keep maintaining and improving Carson Ridge,” Plansky said.
The tournament will also need several volunteers. If you want to get involved or want more info on how to get started in disc golf, join the Facebook group: Carson Ridge Disc Golf and Interpretive Trails. A volunteer needs to spend 40 hours helping out to gain club membership.
“We’ve got a lot of people on board, but we do need more volunteers to help at the event,” he said.
Many volunteers bring different skills to the table. One has been a master of the stone work — from benches to walls seen throughout the course. Another helped with woodworking skills to enhance professional-looking signs along the course.
The club also raises funds by finding sponsors for each holes and benches, so the club is always looking for donations from locals and businesses.
WHERE TO GO
Carson Ridge Disc Golf and Interpretive Trails Park is located on Rifle Range Road in Carson City. From Carson City, take U.S. 50 east, and turn right onto Flint Road. Shortly after, turn right onto Rifle Range Road, and the parking lot is another right turn shortly down the road.
Rules of the game: bit.ly/2Zi2G2N
Sign up for the tournament: https://bit.ly/3RPqO4N
Visit the club’s website: carsonridgediscgolfclub.org