Unknown to most, Punderson State Park is home to one of the top disc golf courses in the state of Ohio, and hovers near the top 100 courses in the country (as rated on DiscGolfScene.com). Although a completely unknown sport to most, it is quickly gaining popularity around the world.
Disc golf is played much like golf, only with specially made discs (much like Frisbees, but more durable) and standing metal and chain baskets to catch the discs as the target. Anyone, just about any age that can throw a disc can play.
The course at Punderson, sponsored by the Friends of Punderson was designed by Tom Mote and Steve Pavick. The whole 18 hole course, with three tee pads per hole and three holes with alternate (long and short) basket locations, the course has a total of 63 different playable holes. However, the course is not quite yet complete with plans this spring to include Pine Lake’s island, with a long basket location for hole #2 and a proposed Gold (really long) Tee pad from the island to shoot over to hole three.
Originally opened in 2009, with a few holes and short tee pads it has taken 8 years to make it what it is today by dedicate volunteers.
Still unknown to most in Newbury or even Geauga County for that matter, Disc Golf is a growing alternative to classic sports. Much like regular golf, it follows the same basic rules with Par, Birdies, Bogies, Aces (as opposed to a hole in one) and out of bounds areas. It is inexpensive to play, and you can do so with as little as one disc golf disc, although a putter is recommended for beginners to start throwing, there are also a variety of midrange discs and drivers in different weights depending on what your abilities are. Unlike ball golf, most disc golf courses are free to play and maintained by avid players and volunteers (and there is no dress code).
At our annual PDGA sanctioned tournaments we have been able to welcome professional players from Sweden, Japan and all over the U.S. – What other sport brings professional players from all over the world to Newbury, OH that you can actually meet? …that’s right, probably few to none. Below is a picture of Manabu Kajiyama, one of Japan’s top rated disc golfers. He was in the states with two fellow disc golfers from Japan to play the PDGA World Championships which were held in Pittsburgh last year. Manabu, along with Scott Stokely (another professional disc golfer and Autism awareness advocate) both broke course records during this event. This year, our tournament sold out in three days, and already has a current wait list of 11 players to get in.
If you would like to try this sport, please feel free to join our ongoing leagues throughout the year on Saturday mornings or contact us if you would like more information or an introduction to the sport. Although the Friends of Punderson has made effort to get the sport into the local school system, we received little support and are hoping this article helps encourage more local youth players to become involved.
As indicated by an over flowing parking lot even through the winter months (yes, they play all year round) disc golf is undoubtedly the most popular activity at Punderson and we hope to see it grow amongst the local community and help to grow and expand the park.