Kirkwood’s Disc Wood turns 10
July 25, 2009
Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a popular destination on a powder day, but it also contains a jewel for summer recreation.
The resort has its own disc golf course, Disc Wood, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The course is popular with locals and visitors alike, said Ricky Newberry, Kirkwood’s mountain safety manager. Many travelers come from the Bay Area and the Carson Valley to play the course, he added.
“A lot of people like this course because it’s rugged and on a mountain,” Newberry said.
The course opened on July 24, 1999, and was designed by Tim Parsons, now editor of the Tribune’s Lake Tahoe Action publication.
The Kirkwood summer activities director contacted Parsons to design a course. He walked around the site until he came upon one area that struck him. The disc golfer would tee off from the top of the rock, down the hill, and putt uphill onto a log.
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“It was a natural hole to throw from that rock into the old-growth woods,” Parsons said.
That became the eighth hole of the course, Parsons said.
The course starts at the Timber Creek Lodge, and it’s a good idea to pick up a map at the General Store before tackling the course. Some of the baskets are hard to find without assistance.
When Parsons designed the holes, he made sure players would have multiple options for approaching the baskets. He also wanted to make it tough for both right- and left-handers.
After the course was designed, the baskets installed and the concrete set, Parsons went out the next day to play the course. Players were already out there.
“As soon as those baskets went up, people started playing it,” Parsons said.
One of the challenges of playing Disc Wood is the elevation. The resort sits at 7,800 feet and the holes are long and uphill. It’s a challenge because players’ heart rates increase and then they have to putt, Parsons said. It’s similar to the biathlon because the athletes are skiing, and then they must stop and have a steady hand to shoot a target, he added.
Another feature that sets Disc Wood apart from other local courses is the 16th hole: a par-5, 1,200-foot hole that starts by the TC Express chair lift. It’s the longest hole in the area, Parsons said.
The course is up and running as soon as the snow melts, usually around June, and stays open until sometime in October.
Instead of storing the baskets last winter, Amador Parks and Recreation borrowed them to use at one of its sites, Newberry said.
“It worked out well for both of us,” Newberry said. “We’d rather have them in use than sit idle for the winter.”
The course is free to play and open 24/7, Newberry said. If players forget or lose discs, they can find more at the General Store.
And it doesn’t take a lot of manpower to maintain the course. Newberry said the disc golf crowd takes ownership of area, and has a “pack it in, pack it out mentality.”