For the past few years, I’ve enjoyed playing disc golf casually.
It started as a way to get out and exercise my arm to alleviate frozen shoulder in 2019. Once I started to play, I learned that there were a lot of hiking aspects as well, which added in another interest.
I first started playing at Autumn Hill in Union and got in many more rounds once Busch Creek opened in Washington. Since then, there have been many other courses on the list from local ones to St. Louis, Texas and Florida.
Over my vacation last week, I was able to play for nine days in a row, something I called Discmas.
It started with nine holes at Busch Creek after we finished newspaper production Dec. 23. I threw all 18 at Quail Ridge in Wentzville Dec. 24, with the highlight being a 50-foot throw-in from a rough lie on the third hole.
For Christmas, I went out and played 18 at Busch Creek. Dec. 26 brought an afternoon nine at the Creve Coeur Lake Lakeside course.
During a travel day Dec. 27, a stop was made in the morning at the six-hole course at Schifferdecker Park in Joplin. The UDisc app added three cross country holes to make it a full nine.
The stop Dec. 28 was at the 18-hole Buffalo Run course in McAlester, Oklahoma.
After arriving at the destination, my brother-in-law Russell and his neighbor, Jonathan, played 27 holes at The Hideaway (AKA Circle’s Edge) near Terrell, Texas. Russell has played in several PDGA events and Jonathan is much better than me.
The final two days of Discmas were spent at one of the most popular courses in Texas, McKinney’s Alex Clark Memorial Disc Golf Course. If you’ve ever watched Brodie Smith or Paige Pierce videos on YouTube, Alex Clark and the neighboring Towne Creek are two courses they feature.
My skill level isn’t much better than a weekend hacker. I’ve never had a round below par, although I’m getting better. Had I not added the three cross-country holes in Joplin, I would have finished one under par there.
I came back with all the discs I took and then some, something of a feat. We all found the lake on the 10th hole at The Hideaway, but I used a floating disc and retrieved it between the 18th hole and our second nine. It wasn’t the first time that disc has gone swimming, either.
The Hideaway is being developed for those with much more skill than I possess. Most of the holes seem to be baskets spread out on a trail through the woods. There are trees, lots of them. Russell suggested I take off a stroke for every tree hit. I might have come close to par that way.
It was the first time I had been to a pay-to-play course. The rates were very reasonable and the course wasn’t very crowded. TaKo (who features in YouTube videos with Eric McCabe) and the Dynamic Discs RV was there as well.
I understand a B-Tier tournament has been scheduled there. If they’re going bigger, there will need to be some upgrades (expanded parking and potentially paving the access road) that will need to be made. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this as a tour stop for the pros at some point.
I think Eagles Crossing in Hawk Point might get there first, however.
Busch Creek in Washington is pretty much two different courses. The first 10 holes are pretty open while the back eight go through the woods. Many people prefer to play the back nine first as they’re physically more demanding. Holes 15 and 17 are demanding and the slope on the left side loves to dump discs into the shallow branch creek on Hole 18.
The front nine, plus the 10th hole, are pretty wide open. If it’s a windy day, things can be interesting.
Quail Ridge is a solid 18-hole course in Wentzville in a county park that includes the horseshoe pitches hall of fame. Many of the holes are wooded, making it easier to play at this time of the year. It was crowded that day and I ended with a group of better disc golfers.
If your ego needs a boost, and you’re in the middle of traveling, the Schifferdecker course in Joplin is just the ticket. You’re never far from the parking area and the holes are reachable by most. If you’re heading that way, the nine-hole course in Baxter Springs, Kansas, might also work.
Buffalo Run was a nice park course in McAlester. Water only comes into play a couple of times (unless the drainage canals are up). There are some easy holes and some long ones.
Playing Alex Clark was a good way to end. It’s not an overall long course, but is extremely popular and there always are a lot of golfers.
It’s the type of course for all levels. Even the pros find the creek or hit trees at times.
My sister, Leah, and nieces, Naomi and Hannah (all natural athletes), don’t play, but Alex Clark is the type of place they could throw if they ever get the bug.