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First nine holes of Hermiston Desert Disc Golf open

The Hermiston Desert Disc Golf course, located across 11th Street from Good Shepherd Medical Center, is now open for use.
By Jade McDowell

Staff Writer

Published on September 26, 2017 10:13AM

Disc golf enthusiasts take turns testing out the first hole of the Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course after a ribbon cutting Wednesday.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Disc golf enthusiasts take turns testing out the first hole of the Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course after a ribbon cutting Wednesday.

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Hermiston Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter, left, speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Hermiston Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter, left, speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

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Scott Zielke cuts the ribbon on the first tee of the new Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Scott Zielke cuts the ribbon on the first tee of the new Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

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Matt Richmond prepares to throw the first disc of the new Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

Staff photo by Jade McDowell

Matt Richmond prepares to throw the first disc of the new Hermiston Desert Disc Golf Course.

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Hermiston’s disc golf enthusiasts can practice their craft in town after the opening of the new Hermiston Desert Disc Golf course.

The course opened Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that drew a crowd of the sport’s fans.

The new course, located across 11th Street from Good Shepherd Medical Center, is still a work in progress. The more technically difficult back nine holes won’t be installed until spring, and the plaque bearing a map of the course has not been installed yet. But within minutes of the red ribbon being cut, several players were already trying their luck with the nine baskets currently installed.

Hermiston Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter said when disc golf enthusiasts Scott Zielke, Matt Richmond, Ginger Colgman and others first approached him about the idea of a disc golf course in town, he thought the department could simply start “putting baskets out” anywhere, but they soon taught him about the importance of proper course design, measuring distances and setting par in order to make the course a nationally-rated one with the potential to draw in out-of-town players and tournaments.

The group managed to get a $15,000 grant from the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation and to set up agreements with Good Shepherd and the Hermiston Irrigation District to use their land.

“It was not an easy thing,” Fetter said.

Both Annette Kirkpatrick of Hermiston Irrigation District and Kelly Sanders of Good Shepherd said that their organizations were happy that their unused land would now be used for an activity that will encourage people to get outside for some exercise and fresh air.

“Maybe some lunchtime you’ll see me out there,” Sanders said.

The first tee of the course — marked by a large cement rectangle with the number 1 on it — is located near the wooden arch marking the start of the Oxbow Trail off Elm Avenue. Each tee faces the basket that players must try to land a disc in using the fewest throws possible. Players must supply their own discs, but the course is free for the public to use.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.







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