Posts Tagged ‘disc golf’


disc golf albanyThe Boy Scouts of Troop 68 were asked to help by providing an activity for last August’s Night To Unite in Melrose. I volunteered my disc golf practice basket and the Scouts brought their discs. People had fun trying their putting skills, or discovering that they did not have any putting skills. Employees from the city of Melrose, and even a couple city council members, stopped by to throw a few discs and talk about the game.

Melrose does not have a disc golf course, but the city now has an interest in one after watching the Boy Scouts and the public playing the game during that evening in the park. The city administrator asked the Boy Scouts and myself to attend the next park board meeting with a proposal to have a course installed in the park. Over the next couple days, a few Scouts and I worked out a plan for a nine hole course and, using my practice basket, actually played a game in the park. I worked up a cost estimate and other information and presented a plan to the park board at the end of August. The board members really liked the idea and the projected cost of the course. They stated that this idea would be a great project to bring more people to use the park, including tweens and teenagers.

Earlier this month I received a phone from the city administrator asking me to attend the city council meeting on Thursday, October 16. The disc golf course proposal had passed the park board and had moved on to the city council for action. I needed to be there in case the council had any questions that needed to be addressed. I marked it on my calendar.

The city council did have a few questions, but none of them were hard to answer. They all seemed to like the idea. When it came time to vote they all voted in favor of creating a disc golf course next spring. The budget they gave to it was lower than I originally proposed so we will not get the concrete tee boxes right away, but they would be a possibility in a few years.

I was told I would be contacted over the winter to meet with the board to make the final preparations for the new course. I guess my work did not end with the proposal. It appears that I am the resident expert on disc golf courses. I had to chuckle to myself. I am probably one of the few adults in town who has played a lot of disc golf, and played on several courses in the area. I am not an expert but I guess I can help plan a local course.

Boy Scout Troop 68 will have a hand in this park. I plan on getting a couple of them to help at the planning meetings this winter. I also plan to have them help build and install the course this spring. There should be plenty of service hours to go around. Unfortunately, the planning has already gone too far to allow one Scout to use this as an Eagle Project, but you know, those concrete tee boxes will need to be added in another year or two.

Does your troop enjoy playing disc golf? Where do they play?

Hole #3.

Hole #3.

If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that both I and the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 like to play disc golf. I usually go to a nearby town to play since Melrose does not have a disc golf course. I like to get out at least once per week. Gotta keep that throwing arm a bit loose, you know?

Today, Sergio, who is an alumni of Troop 68, and I tried a course at Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park that I knew of but had never played. Playing a course for the first time can be a bit of a challenge if the course is not marked well, and this one fit into that category. It took us a few minutes to discover where the course started (found out we parked in the wrong parking lot), and then where the tee off points and baskets were located.

The course was only nine baskets, which was fine with us for the afternoon. None of the holes contained any long distance throwing, like the Albany course, but the course was a fair test of our skills. The fairways were mostly flat but some were narrow between the trees. There were a lot of trees. The Sauk River bordered three or four holes, and a few of the baskets were hidden within or behind groups of trees. Like I said, challenging, but fun.

According to the DG Course Review website, the course has a par of 27. That means each hole is a par three. They gave it a rating of 2.73 out of five. I think I would have rated it a bit higher, except the course does need a little bit of maintenance.

By the time we finished the ninth hole I thought I was losing by one throw. Sergio thought he was losing by one. We added up the scores and discovered a tie at 36. We had not made par, but we were both happy with our scores so we did not play another nine. We had a good time and that is what really counted.

Now I have a new course to introduce the Boy Scouts to. They will have fun on it but will have to watch out for wild throws, or they may find themselves swimming in the river to retrieve their discs. (See picture.)

disc golf 2013I think the first time I ever played disc golf was in 1981 at Crow Wing Scout Reservation near Nevis, Minnesota. I was a 20 year old assistant scoutmaster attending camp with the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68. It was their first time at a week long summer camp. The troop was only a year and a half old.

The Crow Wing disc golf course did not have any baskets like most of today’s courses do. Instead, it had posts in the ground that were numbered. The goal was to hit the post with the frisbee. I believe it was a nine hole course that was placed near the beach.

Over the decades the Boy Scouts have played disc golf when ever a camp presented a course to play, or when we felt like making one of our own. Courses were not found in many cities in our area during the 1980′s and 1990′s. Today, there are several courses found in various city parks within 30 miles of Melrose. Unfortunately, out community does have have a course so we have to leave town to play a game.

During the first few decades of the troop, the Scouts only played disc golf as an occasional activity. As more courses have been created the interest level has gone up. A few of the Scouts now own their own disc sets and have started playing more often.

The sport has become so popular with the troop that this month they held their first disc golf Tri-O. Seven Boy Scouts, along with three adult leaders, played three different 18 hole disc golf courses in one day. They left Melrose Saturday morning for the first game to be played in Albany. Since I had to work that morning I did not join in that first round. I did join the troop after lunch for the games at the St. Joseph Millstream Park course and the Riverside Park course in St. Cloud.

We all had a blast, even though there was a bit of wind, and the water hazards at Millstream Park seemed to attract our discs, as did the many trees at Riverside Park. New Scouts were introduced to the game, while older Scouts worked to improve their skills and scores. One Scout set his goal to beat my score. He was successful, beating me by 2 or 3 throws on each of the courses.

I have a feeling that disc golf will become a regular activity on each yearly program for the next few years. A few Boy Scouts were even talking about playing again as a patrol activity.

Do the Boy Scouts of your troop enjoy playing disc golf?

Boy Scouts disc golfI have been giving the Boy Scouts of Troop 68 a small Christmas present each year for 30 years. It is not a very big present, just something to make the season a little more fun, and to give the Scouts a little something to look forward to during our troop Christmas party. Gifts in the past have included balls, fire starters, water bottles, and small lunch coolers. It is easier to find things these years with a small troop. It was tough finding something when we had forty members in the troop. Have you ever tried to find 40 of something in a store? You should see the look on a checkout person’s face when you bring two shopping carts full of red four-square balls to the counter.

This year I had to push my gift giving up a couple months, to last night’s troop meeting. You see, the gift is something the Scouts can use at this weekend’s troop outing. On Saturday, the troop will be traveling to three different cities to play one of their favorite games, disc golf. Many of the Scouts did not own a disc made for the game so that became this year’s Christmas gift from me.

I came up with the idea when I noticed on the scoutstuff.com website that there was a closeout going on of the leftover 2013 National Jamboree merchandise. Disc golf discs were going for 50% off the regular price which brought to price down to $4.98 per disc. That is the cheapest price I have ever seen on discs. And they were discs made by Innova, one of the main manufacturers of supplies for the sport, so they were not some cheap unknown brand name discs. I ordered three sets for myself and one midrange disc for each of the Scouts.

The Boy Scouts seemed to like the gift. There was various colors to chose from so instead of having a free-for-all and stampede to see who would get what color I started with the newest member of the troop and worked my way up to the Scout with the longest membership. Seniority did not count this time. I also told the boys to write their names on their discs in case that get lost on the course, and so that we know whose disc is whose when we play a game.

Saturday is the big tournament day. The troop will start at the Albany disc golf course, move to St. Joseph for the second game, and end at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. It is going to be a long day. There is going to be a lot of throws. And I would bet there is going to be a lot of very tired Boy Scouts crawling into their sleeping bags Saturday night.

Does your troop play disc golf?

flint and steelCamp Watchamagumee was the place to be for the Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 during the weekend of May 17-19. The six Scouts, including four new members, and two adult leaders may have got a bit damp during the evening hours but they had a lot of fun during the day.

Friday night was a pretty laid back schedule. The troop left Melrose about 6:30 pm. The boys spent the evening setting up camp, reviewing fire safety rules, and enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the first drops of rain send them running for the safety of their tents.

The Scouts had a busy Saturday schedule. After breakfast they worked on their advancement and began building their primitive shelters that would would sleep in that night. It did not take long to discover that the boys did not bring along enough tarps and plastic sheets to build what they wished to build. After a lunch of baked beans and hot dogs roasted over an open fire the troop played a round of nine holes of disc golf.

Saturday afternoon was time for the annual Egg Drop Competition. Each of the Scouts received a raw egg. Their challenge was to create a package for their egg using other natural materials found around the campsite. These packages would than be dropped from higher and higher distances until only one egg remained. Daniel Klassen was this year’s Egg Drop Competition winner. He took home a Boy Scout campfire cooking grille as his prize.

The next event tested the Boy Scouts fire making skills. Each boy was to start a fire and keep it going long enough to burn through a string seven inches above the ground. Matches were not allowed for this contest. The Scouts needed to start their fires using flint and steel. A strong wind turned out to be the villain of this event. Even though the Scouts created hundreds of sparks, the wind blew out many of the flames the boys were hoping to use to start their fires. Alex Engelmeyer was the troop’s winner of this competition.

The boys finished the afternoon by finishing their primitive shelters, playing a couple of games, and making a great supper of fried potatoes and spaghetti and meat sauce. There was not much food left over. The boys had worked up quite an appetite.

A short chapel service was held at 7:30 that evening. This was followed with the boys moving their sleeping bags and pads into their primitive shelters for the night. As the Scouts gathered for the evening campfire they learned a troop song about Camp Watchamagumee, heard the story of the Purple Gorilla, and learned how to protect themselves from a wolfen attack.

Half of the Scouts discovered that their primitive shelters did not do a sufficient job of keeping them dry once the rain showers moved in overnight, but a couple did stay in their shelter for the entire night. Important lessons were learned which will be used the next time they build a shelter, which could be as soon as their June weekend outing.

Attending the Watchamagumee outing were Boy Scouts Alex, Daniel, Zack, Adrian, Sam, and Macoy. Adult leaders for the weekend were Scoutmaster Jim and assistant scoutmaster Eymard. Committee member Steve provided program assistance. The troop would also like to thank Melvin and Vern Klassen for allowing them to use their land for the outing.

More pictures of this outing can be found on the troop’s website.
http://melrosetroop68.org/yearlygalleries/yh13.html#Camp_Watchamagumee .

This year’s weekend camping trip to Kings Lake near Freeport, Minnesota, was not a typical troop outing. We arrived Friday night, as usual, and set up camp. We left Sunday morning, as usual. Saturday was anything but the usual.

Only three members of the troop attended this outing, and one did not arrive until after breakfast Saturday morning. We began the program with some map and compass work for the Second Class Rank. When it came time for the hike we decided to walk into Freeport, have an old style ice cream malt at Charlie’s Cafe, and walk back to camp in time for lunch.

We jumped into the car after lunch and went to Albany to play disc golf at North Lake Park. We played nine holes before going back to camp to clean up a bit. It was time to go to the graduation party of our oldest Boy Scout, Dakota. He invited us to stop by for supper. We, of course, could not turn down that opportunity.

Back at camp, the evening began with a leisurely pontoon boat ride around Kings Lake. The Scouts branded the Boy Scout logo onto an old canoe paddle, several times, which was then cut up into smaller pieces to take home as souvenirs. It ended with everyone sitting around the campfire. The boys must have been tired because they went to bed before the sun set in the western sky. It may not have been a typical weekend but the boys had fun and enjoyed the program. Isn’t that what really matters?

The weather forecast did not give the impression that this month’s troop activity would be much of a winter outing. The temperature had been above freezing for most of the week. A lot of the snow cover had already melted before we left for camp on the evening of Friday, March 18. The forecast for Saturday had temps in the mid 40’s, with rain Saturday night into Sunday morning. It was looking like the Boy Scouts would have to change a few of their planned activities.

The Boy Scouts of Melrose Troop 68 arrived at Camp Stearns about 7:30 Friday night. Five deer greeted us as we rode through the camp. The campmaster surprised us when he told us that the sledding hill was still open, but that is was very icy. The boys were happy to hear they could use the hill because that was one of the highlights of the weekend.

We did not have much daylight left when we arrived at camp so we quickly unpacked the vehicles and walked to the sledding hill to check out the snow conditions. They hill was still snow covered but it was extremely icy. The Scouts were able to slide down the hill on their belly, without the use of any sleds. They looked like a group of penguins. They returned later in the evening, after organizing their gear, with sleds for a proper sledding activity. The evening ended with the boys watching the movie “Dragonheart” in the lodge.

The older Boy Scouts worked with the younger Scouts on their advancement requirements Saturday morning. After lunch, the boys picked up snowshoes and frisbees from the camp staff, and walked to the disc golf course. A couple of deer greeted the Scouts on the fourth hole. The troop usually plays nine holes while at Camp Stearns, but since the broomball field was a mud pit, they decided to play the entire eighteen holes. This was the first time that many of the Scouts had worn snowshoes so that added a new experience to the game.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with rest, relaxation, and board games. Following a supper of steak, potatoes, and corn, the Scouts went back to the softened sledding hill for another hour of fun. The evening finished with the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.

The troop awoke before 7:00 Sunday morning. By 8:30 am they had finished breakfast, had packed their gear, and had loaded the vehicles. It was time to go home and relax from a fun filled weekend.

100 Days of Scouting: Days 39-41.

Boy Scouts will do a lot of things for the first time. It could be the first time tying a bowline, or the first time climbing a wall, or the first time away from home for a whole weekend. Even adult leaders will do many new things for the first time. Most of the time these “first times” are so enjoyable that the boys cannot wait for the “second time”.

I have been surprised when Scouting introduces the boys to a game that they have never played even though it has been around for generations. It makes me think that sometimes the boys need to get out of the house more often.

For example, I have been playing disc golf for decades. I find it to be fun, challenging, and a great way to get some exercise. The first time I suggested to the troop that we play disc golf at summer camp I received quite a few “what are you talking about?” expressions from the boys. I explained the rules to the Scouts and we have been playing the game ever since.

Two Boy Scout camps that we attend, Camp Stearns and Many Point Scout Camp, have disc golf courses. If we spend a weekend somewhere without a course we will create our own. Last year, we played nine holes in the winter while wearing snowshoes. It was the first time many of us had worn snowshoes.

Another “first time” game was while the troop was staying at Camp Stearns one winter weekend. I suggested to the boys that we play broomball. The Scouts had never heard of the game but were willing to give it a try. They had a great time playing it and it is now a part of our winter outing every year.

As a scoutmaster, I always enjoy the moments when I have a chance to introduce the Boy Scouts to something new. When you look back at your own Scouting career, what were some of the games that you introduced to your Boy Scouts for the first time?

100 Days Of Scouting: Day 25.