Rec & Sports » Rec Features

Air golf

Disc golf advocates just doubled their holes


On the eve of his newest course opening, Brad Deteau leaned back in his lawn chair and crammed a deli sandwich into his mouth.

After three years of negotiations, fund-raising and demo work, his vision became reality. On Sunday, Boise's newest disc golf course was informally opened to the public at Bogus Basin Ski Resort, giving area golfers the opportunity to utilize a more scenic and challenging venue.

Deteau seemed relaxed and right with the world as groups of disc golfers returned for a lunch break at the 2005 Baked Potato Open, held at Ann Morrison Park in Boise.

It was just three years ago that he and Walter Bekker, who works for the Parks Department and is also a member of Gem State Disc Golfers (GSDG), were able to get the back nine holes of Ann Morrison's course designed, approved and completed. The duo immediately began work on plans to add a complete course at Bogus Basin.

On Sunday, the ski resort became only the second disc golf course in the entire state. Located on the trails below the Nordic ski lodge, the course consists of two nine-hole loops, which, cumulatively, stretch for 6,384 feet and have a 660-foot elevation change. It is now open and available for use from dawn until dusk, but Deteau says to expect three to four hours of game time.

"It's extreme, and will challenge everyone," he said. "However, there are alternate tee locations for amateurs and juniors. Be sure to wear hiking boots. Bring water and food, and please pack out all trash."

Considering the disc golf season is year-round, the Bogus Basin course could be the first to combine Nordic skiing and disc golf. Time will tell if it catches on.

In the meantime, Deteau, who designed the Bogus Basin course himself, and GSDG have planned a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, July 23, in celebration of Idaho's newest disc golf challenge.

Disc golf had its start in the early 1970s when "Steady" Ed Headrick came up with the idea of the Disc Hole Pole. The catching devise consists of 10 chains hanging in a parabolic shape over an upward opening basket. The odd-looking apparatus caused some confusion among non-disc golf players when they were first installed at Ann Morrison several years ago. Now they have become just another part of the landscape.

The first disc golf course was designed and installed in 1975 at Oak Grove Park in Pasadena, California. The sport has evolved in many ways since that time, most notably in the physical characteristics of the discs, which are similar to the classic frisbee. Like their club counterparts, disc golfers carry bags with an array of discs that vary in size and weight. Each is used according to conditions and strategies. Equipment can be bought new at the Benchmark, located on Vista Avenue, or used at Hardy's Sports Replay or Play it Again Sports on Fairview Avenue.

There are currently over 1,000 disc golf courses around the United States, with over 3 million players, and 20,000 professional players in the the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). The PDGA holds over 390 sanctioned tournaments a year with the annual World Championships held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Every year, between 350 to 400 players are pitted against each other in a grand pursuit for the $64,000 purse.

The 2005 Baked Potato Open is a sanctioned event and drew about 45 players, as well as professionals from Utah, Washington and Oregon. Gem State Disc Golfers offers four different divisions: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Professional. The divisions are further broken down into groups, including juniors, open, open professional, masters, seniors and legends.

Deteau has targeted Lake Walcott, near Rupert, for the next course, followed by Tammarack Ski Resort in Cascade and Brundage Mountain Ski Resort in McCal, both of which have both expressed interest in having courses installed.

Information and maps for the Bogus Basin course are provided at hole 1 (across the parking lot from the Nordic Lodge at Frontier Point). The PDGA Gem State Championship two-day tourney will be held there on September 24 and at Ann Morrison Park on September 25.

For more information on Gem State Disc Golfers, log on to