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Course to open for disc golfers in Niskayuna

9-hole layout uses former landfill site

Monday, May 20, 2013
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Disc catcher for disc golf at Blatnick Park.
Photographer: Marc Schultz
Disc catcher for disc golf at Blatnick Park.

— Past the town dog park and before Niskayuna’s driving range, there will soon be something else to do at Blatnick Park.

That something else is a nine-basket disc golf course.

Town officials, with the help of the Schenectady Disc Golf Club, are working on the finishing touches for the new course at Blatnick, expecting the grand opening this summer.

It’s something they’ve been talking about for a couple of years, since club representatives first approached the town about putting a course in, officials said.

“One of the things I got very excited about was just the idea of having an easily accessible, very inexpensive recreational option for the whole community,” Town Board member Julie McDonnell said last week.

Disc golf uses discs similar to Frisbees, with players throwing the discs at baskets mounted on poles. The baskets serve essentially as holes on a golf course, with many courses having a full 18 holes.

The plan is for the Niskayuna course to also have 18 holes at some point in the future. For now, though, nine are in, with tee boxes, also similar to those on golf courses, still to be finished.

A complete course can cost between $10,000 and $15,000. Once it’s in, though, there is little to no maintenance.

In Niskayuna, the town plans to line up sponsorships of the holes to help cover the costs. Town parkland funds are covering the rest, officials said.

People can bring their own discs. The town also hopes to have some available to rent, possibly at the driving range, though details have yet to be worked out.

A wide-open space

The Niskayuna course is the second of its kind in the county. The first was built in 2011 at Schenectady’s Central Park. The Schenectady course has the baskets set in a wooded area of the park; Niskayuna’s is wide-open.

Schenectady County Legislator and disc golf player Robert Hoffman said Niskayuna’s course will provide a good contrast.

“What’s nice about Niskayuna is that it brings a different landscape into play than we have in any other park,” Hoffman said. “We don’t have the wide-open spaces that we have in Niskayuna, and the players like that.”

Niskayuna’s course is wide-open because part of it is on the town’s old landfill site, now covered over. Officials made sure that the disc golf poles placed over the landfill cap could go in deep enough to stay upright without hitting the landfill.

Club members designed the layout of the course, Hoffman said. Members set up temporary goals last summer and experimented with different configurations.

Hoffman said he believes the final configuration is a challenging one and one that may even bring tournaments to Niskayuna in the future.

The disc golf club holds periodic beginner clinics to attract new players. They also hope to involve the high school.

McDonnell noted that the course puts into use land that couldn’t really be used for anything else.

“It was just a great way to use space that we had for recreation without much cost and much maintenance and really providing a whole other activity down there,” she said.

 
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