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story.lead_photo.caption Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista Chris Griesenauer believes the new disc golf course at Branchwood is a great addition to Bella Vista amenities. Anyone can play disc golf, he said, and it's a very scenic course.

Bella Vista's newest amenity came with some help from volunteers. The new disc golf course at Branchwood is ready for play, Dean Rawlings, POA facility manager said.

Branchwood was a nine-hole golf course, but after extensive flooding damaged the course, it was closed and converted to a multipurpose park. The golf-cart trail became a paved walking trail that has been popular with many POA members.

Last year, Rawlings said he was contacted by a resident who wanted to help him design a disc golf course. Ray Moore is a state ambassador for Innova Champion Disc and was one of the founding members of the association for disc golf in Fayetteville that started in 2009.

Both Rawlings and Moore remember playing disc golf on the course that Bentonville maintained at Lake Bella Vista, but that course has been gone for several years. David Wright, Bentonville Parks and Recreation director, said the course was taken out because of flooding damage but he hopes to add a new one sometime in the future.

At Branchwood, they were able to use several features of the original golf course, including some of the tee boxes, Moore said. But disc golf holes are significantly shorter than regular golf, so they were able to fit an 18 hole course on the property. They did have to put a couple of the goals in the woods.

Once the course was designed, about 10 volunteers helped clear brush out of the way. In disc golf, the goal is a basket that is concreted into the ground, Rawlings said. At a few of the holes, there was a choice of where the basket could go, so a few of the goals are movable. Rawlings said he plans to go out and move them every once in a while for variety.

"It's played just like golf except, instead of swinging a club, we are the club," Moore said.

Disc golfers come in a variety of ages, he said, but they have one thing in common, they are all happy to help keep the course clean and safe. "We're happy to pick up a shovel or a rake," he said.

A disc thrown in a disc golf game is harder than a typical Frisbee, Moore explained, so safety is always a concern. Disc golfers know that pedestrians always have the right of way and they won't throw down a fairway if they see someone walking. Eventually, signs and maps will be added to the course, he said, and they will all contain a reminder to watch for pedestrians, he said. There's already a disc golf organization in Gravette, and it may run tournaments on the new course. There's been one so far and it drew about 40 people out on a hot Sunday. Charity tournaments are also a possibility and can raise a lot of money, Moore said.

When the Branchwood building reopens, there will be discs for sale inside, Rawlings said. He's already selling some "logo" discs, he said. Most disc golfers use a variety of discs depending on the length of their shot. There's no fee for POA members to play on the course.

"The best thing is there's such a variety of personalities," Moore said, "It's a way to bring people together as a family. It's a welcoming group."

General News on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: Branchwood opens as a disc golf course

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