Disc golf garnering interest, speed in the valley

Jeff Jacquart was trying his hand at a lot of things in the mid-1990s. He played soccer, volleyball, basketball, darts and pool, but when he played his first round of disc golf, he was hooked.

“I dropped everything else I was doing,” Jacquart said. “It’s become my biggest hobby, and I’ve strived to promote it and make the sport grow.”

Jacquart is now the treasurer of the Las Vegas Disc Golf Club, a nonprofit organization that promotes the sport in the valley and organizes tournaments and other events.

“We try to donate about 10 percent of the money we raise from events to other nonprofits,” he said. “We just donated $1,000 to Peggy’s Attic (at Child Haven, a donation center of the Clark County Department of Family Services).”

The game is played much like traditional golf, with the familiar tees, par and putting. Instead of a ball and club, players use a throwing disc, much like the popular Frisbee. Holes are replaced by a pole with a large steel basket under suspended chains designed to absorb the impact of the disc.

The discs used in disc golf bear only a passing resemblance to the discs used in throwing and catching games. They’re heavier, flatter and sail long, straight and fast, without hovering or curving in the wind much. Like golf clubs, there is a range of discs available for different conditions and purposes.

There are about 10 courses in the valley, but Jacquart said some are strictly for local or casual players, and the serious players concentrate on four: Mountain Crest Park, 4701 N. Durango Drive; Red Ridge Park, 9198 W. Arby Ave.; Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road; and Arroyo Grande Sports Complex, 298 Arroyo Grande Blvd., in Henderson.

“Mountain Crest is an overall friendly, shorter course,” Jacquart said. “Red Ridge is a little bit tougher; it’s a nine-hole course north of the Rhodes Ranch community. The Arroyo Grande course is a pretty decent, challenging one. Our club helped design it.”

Jacquart said every disc golfer has a favorite course, and that’s usually decided by a combination of the golfer’s skill and the proximity of the a course. He feels the best is the course at Sunset Park.

“It’s the oldest in the valley and one of the oldest in the country,” he said. “The first six baskets were installed in the 1970s. It’s a historically significant course.”

The course was overhauled as part of the renovations of the park completed last year. Clark County Parks and Recreation officials took Las Vegas Disc Golf Club members’ suggestions into account for the redesign and realignment of it. It boasts 24 holes and movable baskets that allow for the courses to be a little different nearly every week. Several of the holes have two or three sleeves that the basket poles can be locked into.

“It keeps the players from getting bored with the course,” said Scott Merritt, the club’s vice president. “It also helps keep the course from being worn out by people walking the same paths over and over.

The club is hoping to get a course built in North Las Vegas at Craig Ranch Regional Park, 628 W. Craig Road. The course is still in the early planning and negotiation stages, but the club has begun holding fundraising events and getting commitments from members to purchase baskets.

“The baskets alone cost $300 to $400 each, and if you add in the cost of installation, it’s quite costly,” Jacquart said. “There’s also the issue of the city’s limited budget. The club would be willing to do the installation, but we have to work that out. The city might not let us because of liability issues.”

For the time being, the club is looking for a date in late April or early May to hold a fundraising tournament at Craig Ranch Regional Park.

“We hold four tournaments a year, and we’d like to be able to split them between Sunset and Craig Ranch, or hold them at both places on the same day,” Merritt said. “For the one we hope to have soon at Craig Ranch, we would bring in portable baskets. A lot of club members have them for practicing in their backyards. They aren’t as sturdy as the permanent baskets, but people will be able to get an idea of what a tournament looks like.”

Information about disc golf in the valley, including course locations, maps, rules and scorecards, is available at the club’s website, lvdgc.com.

Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.

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