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Disc Golf Returns to Goat Hill!

November 19, 2014

Sunday, November 23rd marks the return of disc golf to Goat Hill, newly re-branded as Goat Hill Park.  Join the San Diego Aces at Goat Hill Park for a full day of disc golf, with no ball golfers!  The course opens up at 6:30am for you early risers and closes as the sun sets.  At 12:30pm the Aces will be running the Frazier Farms Turkey Shoot Doubles – a 1-round, random A/B partner draw, best shot doubles mini-tournament.  Local grocer Frazier Farms (they’re down at the bottom of the hill on Oceanside Blvd) is donating Thanksgiving turkeys for the top three finishing teams (1 per team) in addition to the cash payout.  $5 entry fee, players must be signed up by noon.  Goat Hill Park will have beer and brats available for sale and SDSF will be on hand with distance drivers for sale (and other stuff too).

This is great news to most of us, but as usual, there are some who are grumbling.  Why no carts?  Why only on Sunday?  These are valid questions that have come up.  As someone who has worked extensively with the former management group at Goat Hill (Bellows Golf Management), the new management group led by John Ashworth and with the former management at Emerald Isle, I’m here to answer those questions:

  • Why no carts?  Unfortunately, all disc golfers are having to pay the price for the actions of a few knuckleheads.  The former management at Goat Hill had many experiences with disc golfers who drove the carts too aggressively, sometimes causing damage to the carts and the course.  The final straw last November was an incident where a disc golfer drove a cart across a golf green, leaving deep tire tracks on the green.  And this was after many accounts of people “playing bumper carts” and other stupid acts.  Goat Hill Park has just purchased a new fleet of carts and is being very protective of them.  Do I agree that disc golfers are the only ones who misuse carts?  No – I have often told the story of one of my first visits to Emerald Isle with my (then) young son, where I watched two drunk ball golfers crash their cart into a tree, which then caused it to roll, driverless, into a pond.  But I have to concede that disc golfers, many of whom haven’t played ball golf and are unfamiliar with cart etiquette, have probably caused more than their fair share of cart problems.  But this current “no cart” policy isn’t engraved in stone.  It can change.
  • Why only on Sunday?  Once again, past behavior of disc golfers at Goat Hill and Emerald Isle has given our sport a bad image with some ball golfers, many of whom like to complain to management.  One big complaint in the past, when disc golf and ball golf have been played in tandem, is that disc golfers cut in front of ball golfers – playing through without asking.  This is very rude behavior and I have seen it with my own eyes.  If disc golf and ball golf are going to be played simultaneously, all players need to recognize that playing through is not a “right”.  It is a courtesy that the front group can bestow upon the trailing group.

Now disc golfers have another chance.  We have a chance to wipe away bad events from the past and show a new management group how much we love the game of golf and how much we enjoy playing golf at Goat Hill…just with discs.  I have corresponded with new head honcho John Ashworth ever since his new group (Goat Hill Partners, Ltd.) was given the contract to run the course and have been very impressed with his outlook and approach towards the course.  He is a successful businessman with a long history in the golf world and he has local roots – he truly cares about having a community-based golf course, open to all.  We have met several times in person and talk on the phone regularly about how disc golf will move forward at the Goat.  He mentioned this morning that he was “interested to see what it looked like out on the course with just disc golfers”.  I told him it would not look much different from any other day – we really play the same game, just with different tools.

What happens next?  Well, we (disc golfers) have a lot to say about that.  And we say it by showing up to play and showing respect to the golf course…and to the people who are trying to improve it.  I think that once John and his colleagues have a chance to get to know we disc golfers – and not the knucklehead “chuckers” who cause problems – they will see the value in having us on the course every day.  And driving carts.

-Allen Risley

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