Frolfers Welcome

By Reggie Brown

The DeKalb Park District recently welcomed a unique playing field to town.

Prairie Park, a nine-hole Frisbee golf course, located on Gurler Road near First Street, is attracting more than a few “frolfers.”

Brad Garrison, assistant director for the DeKalb Park District, said the course is not officially complete.

But the front nine serves up a series of technical, wooded holes, along with other wide-open, throw-as-hard-as-you-can fairways.

“Frisbee golf is a great way to reconnect with your friends and family,” Garrison said. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money and it’s a lot of fun for all age levels.”

Scott Ustas, a time arts major, believes that along with the excitement of the game, cost is another reason to play.

“It’s free to play here,” Ustas said. “That’s one of the best things about it.”

Frisbee golf has been around since the 1970s but has gained more popularity in recent years.

The rules of “frolf” are strikingly similar to those of regular golf. Terms such as “mulligan” and “the rough” come up often while playing.

The Frisbee courses have tee locations similar to golf, with tees hidden in forested alcoves or behind large trees. The baskets themselves are made of metal, with hanging chain links to trap the disc. As in golf, there is a par rating for each hole.

Also in like golf, there are dozens of discs to choose from. They all seem to have the same shape, but each has its own unique flying behavior.

“There are driver discs and putter discs and they each have different weights,” Garrison said.

The average putter disc costs between $7 to $14 and driving discs range from $7 to $16.

Because of the lack of sporting goods stores in DeKalb, the Marathon gas station on Lincoln Highway decided to make discs available to Frisbee golfers.

Laura Chyllo, a Marathon station employee, said that on average the station has about 20 to 30 discs at a time and it has had to reorder discs every week because they sell out so quickly.

Ustas has been frisbee golfing for four years and said the game is becoming very popular – so popular that at times he has to wait for other golfers to finish at a hole because the course gets so crowded.

“I think it has worked out well so far,” Garrison said. “It’s getting very popular and based on the amount of play we have seen so far, it’s been a hit.”

Typical Frisbee golf courses consist of 18 holes, but the Prairie Park course is not completed yet. Yet to be added to the course are tee signs, among other details.

“I would like to see some cement tees,” Ustas said. “There aren’t any signs and you really can’t tell where the holes are. If you aren’t familiar with this course, chances are you won’t know where to go.”

Prairie Park is the largest park in the district with 100 acres, so alternative places in the park to position a back nine should not be hard to find.

Because the course is popular and a unique addition to the city, one of the main concerns has been keeping it clean for everyone who uses the facilities.

“My concerns are whether or not people will conduct themselves in a good manner and clean up their waste,” Garrison said. “It hasn’t been a problem yet.”