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Portage Lakes Disc Golf Course growing in popularity

6/26/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is the new lighthouse at hole No. 10 on the disc golf course located in Portage Lakes State Park.
Photo courtesy of Steve Godar
NEW FRANKLIN — The 18-hole disc golf course located in Portage Lakes State Park on Manchester Road is now in its fifth year and Steve Godar, president of the Portage Lakes Disc Golf Association (PLDGA), said the course has continued to grow in popularity each year.

“It’s steadily increasing,” he said. “I’m always seeing new and different people there. It’s spreading by word of mouth as people are becoming more aware that it’s in our area. And more and more people are becoming more interested in the game, actually.”

According to Godar, disc golf is played like traditional golf, except for the fact that a player throws a disc (similar to a Frisbee) at a target or a basket.

“We have pars on every hole,” he said. “Once a person gets his or her disc in the basket, they have holed out. Every throw is one stroke. People can show up to play one hole or they can play the whole thing.”

For those who want to play the game at the course, Godar said, the only thing required is a disc.

“It’s pretty much like a Frisbee,” he said. “The discs needed to play disc golf aren’t as common as just a regular Frisbee, though. If you are going to play disc golf, you really need a Frisbee intended for disc golf, rather than a Frisbee intended to just play catch with. The discs generally cost around $15. They start at around $10, but some of them can actually get quite pricey. Some of the discs even go over $100, depending on the rarity and how they are colored or designed. But the average price for a good one to play disc golf with is around $15 or $20.”

During the time since it first opened in 2009, Godar said, the Portage Lakes Disc Golf Course has undergone several upgrades.

“We started out with nine holes originally, and then we went to 18 holes the following year,” he said. “We’ve added concrete tee pads on all 18 holes. Actually, we have two sets of concrete tee pads on each hole — one for a long throw and one for a shorter throw. The tee pads for the longer throws are 12 feet long by 4 feet wide, and the ones for the shorter tee pad are 8 feet by 4 feet. Those were all installed by us and volunteers, such as the Boy Scouts. We’ve also added, on several holes, alternate basket locations, similar to what might be found on a [traditional] golf course. It gives different perspectives on your shot. We also have a new lighthouse at hole No. 10 that was designed by Matt Dungan, a really great carpenter. The disc golf basket sits on top of a 6-foot-tall lighthouse right next to the lake. It’s just beautiful.”

For those who enjoy competition, Godar said, the course offers a scramble every Thursday where two-person teams compete for a cash payout pooled from entry fees.

“Every team involves an ‘A man’ and a ‘B man’ — with the ‘A man’ being a better player — and those teams are determined by a draw of the cards,” he said. “So, more than likely, you end up with a different partner every week. The scramble starts at about 5:30 p.m. every Thursday. People just show up to play and the cost is $5. Anywhere from 12 to 30 people will play, and the top three teams cash out each week.”

The biggest event of the year for the course will take place July 19, when the PLDGA hosts a tournament in conjunction with the Portage Lakes Kiwanis Pirate Days festivities.

“The tournament will be sponsored by Friess Welding on South Main Street,” Godar said. “There will be two divisions — an open division for the players who are a little more competitive and a novice division. There is a cash payout for the open division winners of $100 and a percentage of the entry fees, while the winners of the novice division will get discs. There is a $5 cost to partake in the tournament, and we are expecting a nice little turnout for it.”

For additional information about the course or the leagues, contact Godar at steve@pldga.com or 330-644-0544, or go to www.pldga.com.

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