Need to say ‘fore!’
Dear Editor:Children and seniors beware, and also iPod users!I recently attended a meeting at Carbondale Town Hall to discuss the insurance inspector’s report about disc golf in Bert & Ernie Park. Present were the mayor, town manager, finance director, recreation director, and myself.The inspector’s report contained the following recommendation: “To help reduce injury potential, consideration should be given to establishing reasonably safe buffer zones between disc golf activities (flying discs) and other park users. This may include relocating … holes that are close to other park activities, e.g., playground, walking/bike path, and street traffic.”Why am I writing this letter? I represent the neighbors and townspeople of Carbondale who would like to see the disc golf course in B&E moved to a suitable location. B&E (also known as Gianinetti Park), is the neighborhood park for the Roaring Fork Village PUD and contains 3.15 acres along Village Road. It’s a passive, mixed-use park that includes such traditional amenities as playground, picnic tables, horseshoes, basketball, pedestrian walkways, and restrooms. It is also the neighborhood park for seniors at the Heritage Park Care Center. So, what’s wrong with disc golf in B&E? Aren’t we talking about Frisbees here? No, discs are not Frisbees! Frisbees are what we threw as kids with soft, round edges that floated through the air. The discs being thrown in B&E are smaller, denser, and heavier versions of the traditional Frisbee, with sharpened edges to increase speed and distance. They are more like ninja weapons than Frisbees, and would likely send you to the emergency room if you were ever hit by one.Disc golf has seriously compromised the safety and experience of other park users. Errant discs fly everywhere. They ricochet from trees and playground equipment, cross over pedestrian sidewalks used by seniors with walkers and wheelchairs, and fly over fences into backyards. The playground is under siege and hundreds of discs go into Village Road traffic. The park used to be a place where one could relax and not be on alert for missiles. We were in the park recently and observed several men playing the course. Others were in the park including one man sitting against a tree reading and listening to an iPod. Unfortunately, the man with the iPod was sitting between the players and the basket. Instead of getting the man’s attention, they threw directly toward him. One disc hit the tree above his head and fell down almost into his lap. He never saw or heard it coming and was quite startled. Had the disc been a few feet lower it would have hit him in the head. Must we now restrict iPod use in the park? The buffer zones recommended by the insurance inspector are simply not available. The rule of thumb for disc golf design is one acre per hole, not nine holes shoehorned into 3.15 acres. Let’s move the course now.Bill HoftoCarbondale
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