People of a certain age certainly remember the Land of the Misfit Toys, a place to where toys that no kids want for Christmas get exiled. It’s part of the old Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer movie from a looong time ago. Anyway, those toys are none too happy to be there, because they are unwanted as well as the fact that the place looks pretty cold and bleak.
Now many people will characterize disc golfers as misfits, for a variety of reasons. Personally I wear that label as a badge of honor, because fitting in has never been on my list of priorities. But with us the story is quite different than with those sad little toys. We actually seek out locales where we can lose ourselves in a self-imposed exile for a couple hours, and we’re finding them with increasing frequency. A recent blog post here on the installation of the Ryan Ranch course in Monterey discusses what I believe to be at the core of the disc golf grassroots growth phenomenon, essentially people going to great lengths to get new courses installed not for monetary gain but to enable themselves and others to experience the game. And now another example pops up – this time in Walnut Creek.
As detailed in a story published on the SJ Mercury website, another course may be installed soon, and for disc golfers it includes an encouraging new twist: a new level of local government support. If the proposal by ‘local disc golf enthusiasts’ is accepted, the city of Walnut Creek will provide $20,000 for equipment costs as well as ongoing maintenance by its parks staff for Old Oak Park. This kind of support is more common in other parts of the country, and it’s an encouraging trend here in Northern California. Local governments are finally realizing what a tremendous success story installing a disc golf course can be.
You take 10 acres or more that otherwise had no recreational potential or viable commercial uses, invest a tiny fraction of what it costs to develop convention parks, or tennis courts, or baseball/softball fields, and wham! Just like that you’ve enabled thousands of people to enjoy the land (in a more pristine condition than you’ll find with any other arrangement that untouched open space), and get exercise many would not get otherwise get . . . all basically at little or no cost to the city or the players. And since unused public acreage usually ends up getting populated by shady people looking for hidden places to do their shady things, cities and counties have removal of those elements as further incentive. More and more, they are seeing the upside of accommodating us misfits and our plastic toys.