Come one, come all: Disc golfers kick off summer
Historically governed by free-spirited college kids in search of something to keep them busy outside class, disc golf has gained significant popularity throughout many countries as a game of low expense, strategy, casual dress and social pleasure. Rightfully, the sport has gained footing here in our valley, with seven separate courses in and around the area to choose from, including the most sought-after course — ranked as the highest official disc-golf course in the world — Aspen Mountain.
Following the same rules as a traditional game of golf, most courses have 18 holes with one tee box per hole and a basket set up several yards away. No matter what the distance of the basket is, every hole is a par 3 as players toss a disc down the course, all with the intention of sinking the disc in the corresponding basket using as few strokes as possible.
Taking full advantage of our warming offseason and his childhood experience playing disc golf with his dad and brother Charlie, resident Andy Curtis — who believes the courses in the valley feature some of the finest layouts and most breathtaking views — escapes to the sport with his pack of 30 discs and group of closest friends.
Snowmass Sun: When was the first time you can remember throwing a disc? What about the sport interests you the most?
Andy Curtis: Growing up in Barnstable, Mass., I was lucky enough to have two courses to play on. I remember my dad taking me out to throw when I was around 10 years old. Then in high school it became a pretty cool place to hang out after classes let out. What’s interesting to me is getting out in nature with a purpose. Most courses around the country are out of the way and along hiking paths. It costs very little to get started, and it never stops being fun.
SS: What course would you say is your favorite? Which course(s) is the most difficult?
AC: The (Colorado Mountain College) course in Glenwood is by far the most beautiful I’ve seen. The entire 18 holes present amazing views of Mount Sopris and the Sunlight ski area, which makes the whole experience really worthwhile. I’ve played about 20 courses in my life and would say the Snowmass/Aspen courses are on the higher end of difficulty. Aspen Mountain has a really easy first nine holes, and the back nine are grueling uphill battles with gravity.
SS: What time of year is the most favorable for playing conditions?
AC: The best time to play on the mountain courses is early summer when the gondolas start running. Right now, conditions are iffy with a fair amount of snow and mud to hike through. You can technically play any time of year, but I think the ideal time to play, especially in the mountains, is in the morning to early afternoon from April to October. Like most locals know, storms, clouds and windy conditions tend to pick up in the late afternoon, which can add up to a bad time out on the course. Also, a crowded course adds some frustration and anxiety to the sport and sometimes takes away from the nature aspect.
SS: In all of your experience, what was your best game?
AC: I may have gotten par once. I have never finished under par, which is embarrassing considering my experience. It’s not an easy sport. I have gotten close on courses back home and in Virginia, where I went to college. Those courses were much easier than the courses I’ve seen out here in Colorado.
SS: Would you say you prefer disc golf to traditional golf?
AC: I would much rather play disc golf than traditional golf. I have played regular golf maybe five times in my life. It’s expensive, has a stuffy feel, and did I mention it’s expensive? You absolutely don’t get that feeling of being in nature when playing a real golf course — it’s just different. With golf there are so many rules and protocols, but in disc golf all you really need are some discs, your dog, your friends and a good attitude. What can be better than that?
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