Family constructs disc golf course in Hutchinson’s Rice Park
, 2022-11-11 02:00:00,
While a traditional golfer throughout his life, Rex Christner of Hutchinson started playing disc golf a little over two years ago while visiting his son in Utah and “instantly fell in love with it.”
So much so, he put away the clubs and started buying discs, which are like Frisbees but smaller and heavier.
“It’s easier on the body, and it’s free,” said Christner, 67.
But while learning to play, he struggled on the two courses Hutchinson offered.
Neither, he said, is friendly to beginners. The course in Carey Park is long, while one in Rivers Banks Orchard Park is very technical, with lots of trees to get through or around.
“Orchard is not the place to learn,” Christner said. “Most holes have 30 or 40 trees to miss between the tee box and the basket, and it can get really frustrating. There are so many trees I lost a lot of discs in the first six months I played.”
“I got better,” Christner said. “But it got me thinking that Hutchinson could use a course more friendly for beginners and for families to play together sometimes. “
“When you play at Carey Park or Orchard, there’s a lot of trouble you can get into that makes it not as fun when you’re learning. It was always in the back of my mind it would be nice to open a park that’s easier, like in a lot of other cities.”
He’s now played on about 50 different courses across the country. Locally, both Buhler and Inman are easier.
Coming up with the course
Christner said he walks a lot, including spending time in Rice Park. Walking the trail, he began to study the park in more detail and decided it could be a good location for the type of park he had in mind.
Over last winter and into the Spring, he started talking to family members about constructing a course in the park and naming it after his late father. Keith L. Christner was active in youth sports, coaching Little League Baseball most of his life, Christner recalled.
With his family’s support, he then went to the city and pitched the idea.
Parks and Facilities Director Justin Combs reviewed sketches for a layout Christner had provided. They walked the park together, making a few adjustments to ensure no conflicts with existing park activities, Combs said.
Some holes, for example, are on the backside of the baseball and softball fields.
“We tried to limit the opportunities for discs to go over (ballfield) fences by strategically deciding where the baskets were,” he said.
They used locations on the Jim P. Martinez Trail as tee pads for a…
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