By Conrad Dudderar
Near-gale force winds couldn’t dissuade disc golf enthusiasts from coming out en masse this week for the grand opening of Yukon’s new disc golf course.
The course officially opened April 4 with a breezy Yukon City Council ribbon cutting ceremony at Welch Park, 615 Annawood.
The company Dynamic Discs of Emporia, Kan. built the nine-hole disc golf course in the 14.55-acre park next to Ranchwood Elementary School.
“I know it’s a windy night and that’s not always great for throwing discs, but I appreciate you coming out anyways and enjoying this grand opening with us,” Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Ryan McClure told the crowd.
“This is just one of many projects coming up in Yukon Parks & Recreation. We’re working on renovating our tennis courts and have a new (Freedom Trail) playground and splash pad coming here in Yukon.”
Disc golf is played much like golf except players use a flying disc instead of a ball and clubs.
The sport was formalized in the 1970s and shares with golf the object of completing each hole in the fewest strokes – or, in the case of disc golf, fewest throws.
Dynamic Discs offered the lowest price ($25,835) among five vendors bidding on the City of Yukon’s disc golf course project. Other bids ranged from $34,117.50 to $61,000.
This new course at Welch Park was funded entirely by donations made through the non-profit Yukon Community Support Foundation. Yukon businessman Ray Wright represented the foundation at Tuesday’s grand opening.
“They’re the ones that made this all possible with their donations and their support,” McClure said, prompting loud applause from the audience. “We really appreciate them. They really pushed this project forward.”
McClure commended Dynamic Discs for how they designed and constructed the course.
“As you go out on the course, you’ll see how creative it is and how unique it is,” the YPR director told players.
He also thanked the Yukon Park Board, City of Yukon management and Yukon City Council for their support.
Attendees included Yukon Park Board Chairman Joe Edwards, Mayor Shelli Selby, Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda, City Manager Tammy Kretchmar, Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort, and Assistant to the City Manager Jason Beal.
YPR assistant directors Bryan Kelley and Casey Barnett and other personnel were on hand as well.
‘GOT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN’
Having a disc golf course at a Yukon city park was among suggestions that residents made during a community survey and town hall meetings in fall 2021.
“Several years ago, when I first ran for city council, I kept hearing about disc golf and that we needed a course here in Yukon,” Mayor Selby said. “Then, when we had our town halls, that’s what I kept hearing over and over.
“I thought, ‘I have got to make this happen’. When I joined the Yukon Community Support Foundation, they said, ‘We need a project to give back to Yukon’.”
Yukon’s mayor convinced Wright and other foundation members to fund Welch Park’s disc golf course.
“I am not a disc golf player but what I heard was, that’s what you guys wanted,” Selby told the crowd.
She did learn how to throw a disc after about 30 minutes of practice in a playroom at her counseling office Monday.
So, Selby then officially opened Yukon’s new course Tuesday by throwing out the first disc.
“Let the fun and the games begin,” she declared.
Welch Park, located just east of Ranchwood Elementary School, features a large pond that hosts Yukon’s annual Kids Trout Fish Out.
Mayor Selby called the park one of Yukon’s best-kept secrets.
“We’ve applied for a grant we’re hoping to receive that will allow us to put walking trails (and park benches) out here,” she said. “We’re very excited. I can’t wait to see this place filled up.”