, 2022-08-30 22:26:56,
Eric Bowers had been an avid golfer since shortly after he discovered the sport at 13 years old. But on a summer vacation with his wife to Lake Placid several years ago, his attention and interest was captured by a different type of golf. Near the lodge where they were staying, not far from the base of Whiteface Mountain, there was a nine-hole disc golf course.
Like many others, Bowers had never heard of disc golf. But now he is an avid player and was elected to the board of the Westchester Disc Golf Enthusiasts (WeDGE), a nonprofit organization that runs the sport’s local competitions and maintains the county’s only two disc golf courses, at Mount Kisco’s Leonard Park and FDR State Park in Yorktown.
Since WeDGE was formed in 2013, its members have also raised an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 for a variety of charitable causes and organizations, including the Yorktown-based Support Connection and various food pantries around the county.
“It’s a great activity,” Bowers said. “I’m a very competitive person. What I love about it, you can be 16 years old and there are guys who are 70 years old. You get a wide range of ages, and if you like that competitive spirit, it’s a sport (that) as long as you can throw you can be competitive for many years.”
The sport is very similar in concept to conventional golf, but instead of striking a ball with a club with the goal of it landing in a hole, participants use a set of discs or a Frisbee and try to get them into a basket. There are mostly par 3 and par 4 holes, which range from 250 to 350 feet and 450 to 700 feet, respectively, said William Newman, who designed the FDR State Park course in 2000 and is its course pro maintaining the grounds.
Some courses in locations with more land also include par 5 holes, where the distance is in excess of 700 feet from the tee box, where the player makes his or her initial throw, Newman said.
Typically, a disc golf set includes three discs made of a blend of plastics – a driver for the longer distance shots, a mid-range disc and a putter for the shortest throws. The game can also be played with a regular beach Frisbee, although generally there are distance limitations to those compared to the disc golf sets that can be bought at some area sporting goods stores.
Newman said a surge in popularity in disc golf coincided with COVID-19.
“The pandemic, it was outside and we…
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