Resident pitches disc golf course for Federal Way
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
January 22, 2013 · Updated 4:45 PM
Federal Way resident Randy Clark addressed the Federal Way City Council on Jan. 15, sharing his ideas on possibly finding a place in Federal Way for the game of disc golf.
The game, which has been steadily gained in popularity for years, is essentially golf in which frisbee-like discs replace balls and clubs. Instead of a flag and putting green, each "hole" in disc golf is marked by a chain-covered basket.
For Clark, he thinks the addition of a disc golf course in Federal Way would be something that would attract people to the city.
"I roughly estimate that it would provide 100,000 hours of recreation per year, and also promote traffic through some of Federal Way's prime retail areas," he said. "And, by placing the course here in Federal Way, between noted courses in Seattle and Tacoma, it could attract a world's tournament here. Proximity is important, so this is a good central location."
The disc golf enthusiast backed his claims on the attracting power of a course, saying that it's one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and that the world championship tournament in California last year had a purse of $150,000.
"It really is a world sport now," he noted.
Clark said he's been working with the city's parks department, and that a suitable location in the city would be near the BPA Trail and close to the King County Aquatic Center. He said he has assurances from leaders in the local disc golf community that the $7,000 to $10,000 needed for the course could be covered by donations, and that the disc golf community would also be able to provide the labor.
"So, the net cost to the city is zero," Clark said.
Another thing Clark said would need to be addressed is getting the King County Aquatic Center on board. For the proposed location he's been working on, he'd like the course to end and begin from a rear parking lot of the aquatic center.
"Their aquatic center has a completely separate back parking lot that's just the right size, and it's usually empty and the course would begin and end at that lot," he noted.
Clark again reiterated that a disc golf course would be nothing but a win-win for the city and its residents.
"The cost to benefit ratio is just huge, and while the economic benefits at this point are minor, the social benefits are huge," he said.
Mayor Skip Priest thanked Clark for his input, and said he'd be happy to meet further with Clark to discuss the idea.
• A private disc golf course is open to the public at Brooklake Community Church, 629 S. 356th Pl. in Federal Way. The course contains nine baskets with two tee pads per basket. Course is closed until 3:30 p.m. during the school year and is open dawn to dusk when school is out of session. To learn more, visit the course's fan page on Facebook or call Steve Schroeder at (253) 332-8294.
• The issue of building a disc golf course in Federal Way has surfaced before. According to a 2011 report in the Federal Way Mirror, Tom Bontempo, owner of Mando’s Disc Golf Pro Shop in Auburn, urged the parks commission to consider potential locations for a disc golf course. Bontempo said Auburn’s course brings 200 people on weekdays and 300 or more on the weekends. Tournaments see 150 people or more.
• According to the Disc Golf Association, there are more than 2,500 disc golf courses in the United States. Between 7 million and 10 million people have played the game. Since 1976, there have been over 24,000 members of the Professional Disc Golf Association, and each year, pro players compete in more than 390 sanctioned tournaments and a world championship, according to the association.
• The parks department in Sandusky, Ohio, spent about $5,000 to set up a 10-acre disc golf course in 2012, according to the Sandusky Register.
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at email@example.com or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.