By Linda Wallace

Author's thoughts on the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Disc Golf

I’m miffed. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer didn’t include White Center's Lakewood Park in a list of parks that have disc golf courses. Blythe Lawrence wrote a nice piece on disc golf at Cornwall Park in Bellingham in the September 21 issue of the Intelligencer’s "1 Tank/1 Trip" feature in the Thursday "Getaways" section. Well, I think it’s a nice piece. She describes the game and her attempts to master it, but since I don’t play myself, I have no idea how accurate the information is. However, I felt like I could play after I read her article. And she does a good job of capturing the enthusiasm that is causing the sport to gain in popularity. You can even play the game online at The cartoon is from that site.

I love having a disc golf course in our local park. I’ve helped establish native plants at Lakewood, enjoyed picnics there, fed the geese bread at Hicks Lake (a definite no, no) and taken my grandchildren for bike rides on the paved paths, but for a long time I didn’t know the park also served another function. I’d never heard of disc golf before I discovered we have a course right here in White Center. I’d wondered about the purpose of the numerous metal poles encircled with wire baskets and festooned with chains. Bird sanctuary? Weather-reporting apparatus? Trash can? What? Oh, disc golf. How cool!

Not everyone shares my delight in the course. Dick Thurnau, the man I wrote about in my "Benches for Bumbershoot" blog, is conducting an on-going war with the golfers. He’s convinced they’re the culprits who leave behind piles of alcoholic beverage containers in and around the trash cans (strictly illegal) and damage the trees and native shrubs we’ve planted. He has a spiral notebook full of photos he’s taken of beer cans, wine bottles, broken tree limbs, stripped tree bark, concrete tee pads in spots he considers inappropriate and other violations. He’s a voluminous letter writer to political and park officials and often mentions the disc golfers as a problem. So, that makes the two of us have a problem because I want to support the golf course.

I see his point about the plants. In the P-I article, even though she enthuses about disc golfing as a whole, Ms. Lawrence also notes, "The scars of scores of discs were visible on tree trunks throughout Cornwall Park." I don’t know how to solve that problem, but I suspect not all of the damage documented by Dick in his photos was perpetrated by golfers.

I know Dick and I share the common goal of improving Lakewood Park even if we don’t always agree on how to do it. We’re both members of Friends of Hicks Lake, an organization formed for the purpose of improving the water quality of Lakewood Park’s small pond. Dick is by far the most active, and definitely the most vocal, member. I’m wondering if I can continue to belong to a group that, thanks to Dick’s letters, is probably seen as opposing disc golf at Lakewood Park, a view exactly opposite of my own. Sigh. How can anything ever get accomplished when even people of good will can’t agree on what should be done?

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At 6:11 AM, Blogger EilisFlynn said...

I am mystified by most sports, and this is no exception. Huh? When I get time, I must look this up!

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Linda Wallace said...

Just stroll over to Lakewood Park (when it isn't pouring rain) next to Cascade Middle School and watch the pros.


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