By Michelle Delaney
(pictures taken at Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course in Lake Hiawatha Preserve)
On a cool, crisp day in October 2015, I was introduced to the game of disc golf while visiting family in Summit County, Colorado. It was suggested that we play a round of disc golf and, though I never heard of the game, it sounded like some outdoor family fun. I grabbed the dog’s freesbie and was ready to give it a try.
That’s not how it works. There are rules and specific discs (putt & approach, mid-range, distance driver, all in assorted colors). I borrowed my son’s discs and we headed to a course near Colorado Mountain College-Leadville. There were no golf carts, no tee times and no green fees and, for less than $50, a set of discs could be purchased from the local sports store. The game was easily accessible and affordable.
As I traversed my way through a moderately wooded and hilly course, I understood that disc golf is more than just a game.
The game is for players of all ages. Anyone can play, however, for the competitive player, it takes skill and practice. My first throw of the disc ended in a tree, my second and third shots in the thick brush. I eventually was able to complete the 18 holes, losing and searching for the disc many times along the way. I am not complaining, all of us had a great time.
When I returned home, I discovered that Clermont was developing its own disc golf course in the Lake Hiawatha Preserve.
Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course, an 18-hole course, opened in 2016 and features the longest course in Florida, about 9,000 feet.
“When the city partnered with Lake County to create Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course, it was with the goal of being able to host local, statewide, national and international events,” said City of Clermont Parks and Recreation Director Scott Davidoff. “The course has been a huge success for the city, and the feedback from the community has been phenomenal”.
And now the sport of disc golf in Clermont has been taken to the next level!
The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) recently announced that Champions Pointe Disc Golf Course in Lake Hiawatha Preserve will be among its sites for the 2020 Amateur Disc Golf World Championships.
The PDGA championships are the sport’s major event, featuring the world’s top disc golfers, drawing interest and attention to the location and generating significant economic impact for local businesses. Davidoff helped Orlando Disc Golf Inc.’s President Mark Janssen work on the bid and application for the prestigious honor.
The PDGA recently announced the locations for the amateur and professional championships. The amateur championships will be Central Florida, while professional championships will be in Ogden, Utah. The Central Florida locations will include Lake Hiawatha Preserve in Clermont, Bill Frederick Park (Woods, T-2 and Original) in Orlando, Barnett Park (Parkside and North courses) in Orlando, River City Nature Park (Alpha and Barwick courses) in DeBary and a new temporary course at a local golf club.
Being selected is no surprise for the city known as the Choice of Champions, with its active sporting community and picturesque parks. “As the Choice of Champions, there is no better place to host an event of this caliber, and we are looking forward to welcoming all of the athletes and spectators to showcase all that Clermont has to offer,” said Davidoff.