Disc golf enthusiast wants to make sport universal

Friday, March 16, 2012
Disc golfer Ramon Quesada tees off on the first hole of the disc golf course at Gunn Park. Quesada is on a mission to promote the sport both locally and around the region. (Jason E. Silvers/Tribune)

Ray Quesada is trying to do what he can to get the sport of disc golf to take off locally and around the region.

The avid disc golfer, a member of the Fort Scott Disc Gunner's Disc Golf Club, is making changes at the current 18-hole disc golf course at Gunn Park, and has helped form a Southeast Kansas Disc Golf League to help promote the sport throughout the region.

Quesada said he wants to eventually put another 18-hole course on land available in the park and get the links recognized by the Professional Disc Golf Association.

Disc golfer Ramon Quesada sits on one of the new benches at the disc golf course at Gunn Park. Big Sugar Lumber donated the wood for the benches, which were built by Quesada and his friend, Daniel Craig.(Jason E. Silvers/Tribune)

"My ultimate goal is to be able to host a major PDGA event," he said.

One of the changes at the course are nine new wooden benches that have been built and placed at various holes at the course. Big Sugar Lumber donated the wood for the benches, which were built by Quesada and his friend, Daniel Craig.

Quesada's future plans for the course include designing a kiosk that will feature information such as a course map, rules and club events. He also plans to redo the tee signs at each hole and look for funds to buy new baskets, which are targets that golfers are aiming at when playing.

He's also trying to help better market the course in the community.

The Fort Scott Disc Gunner's Club currently has about 15 members, but Quesada is trying to recruit even more members. The club has a Facebook page that Quesada said he tries to keep updated. Club members pay dues that go toward equipment and supplies the group needs. Quesada said players of all ages and skill levels are accepted. The club organizes recreational play year-round at the Gunn Park course, including winter weekends.

The recently created SEK Disc Golf League will include the local club as well as four other disc golf clubs in the region. The club's first meeting is coming up in April. Members will meet to compete and discuss upcoming disc golf events.

Quesada said he has talked with city officials about his interest in putting another 18-hole course at Gunn Park. He wants to get the course sanctioned by the PDGA and create a 36-hole venue that could accommodate local and national tournaments.

"Pros would come to play and we could have some tournaments here," he said.

Tournaments could be beneficial to the local economy, bringing in players and enthusiasts from around the country to stay overnight, buy gas, eat at restaurants and possibly shop, Quesada said.

Quesada said the sport is easy to learn to play and can become addictive. Plus, it's relatively inexpensive, and can be a good time for friends and coworkers to get together to socialize and have some fun.

"Cost-wise it's a lot cheaper that a lot of sports," he said.

Discs can be purchased at local stores and disc golf starter sets are available for around $15-$20, Quesada said. Discs are available in a variety of designs depending on their use on the course.

Disc golfers use golf discs -- smaller, heavier and aerodynamically better than Frisbees -- and play by rules that are basically the same as the regular sport.

Players "hole out" in a disc golf basket or target attached to a pole about two feet above the ground.

Two chain assemblies above it act as a backboard stopping the disc's forward motion, causing it to drop into the basket.

Golfers play the throw from where it lies and count each throw until the disc lands in the basket or within the chains.

The game is played in about 40 countries around the world.

The number of disc golf courses more than doubled in eight years from 2000-08, according to the PDGA.