“You have this very defined path to go down and you can throw your Frisbee and make it wind down through that path and make it lie down where you want it — there’s something very addictive about making your Frisbee doing what you want it to do,” reflected Andy Simmons on disc golf. “It’s a skill game like golf, darts or pool — like any sport where you’ve figured it out and made this little thing do exactly what you want it to do.”
Simmons, the general manager at Baymont, has been playing disc golf since 1986. Originally from the Quad Cities area of northern Illinois, he’d never heard of the sport before friends invited him to play when he was 16. “I’ve been in love with and playing it ever since,” he said.
So when the Metropolis-newcomer learned a course was opening at Fort Massac State Park (FMSP), he couldn’t wait. For he and a number of other local disc golf fanatics, that wait is almost over.
While baskets, or the Disc Pole Hole catching devices, have been installed, park superintendent Chris McGinness said the Fort Massac Disc Golf course, it’s official name, isn’t completed. “We have the baskets up, so it’s enough to play, but we still have to put in the concrete tee pads and signage. By the time we design the signs and the score cards, we think it’ll be November or December before it will be all completed.”
Metropolis had its first taste of disc golf in May 2012 when FMPS was the host site of the Bluegrass Disc Golf Tournament. Around 70 people — ranging in age from early 20s to over 60 and locations from local to as far as Green Bay, Wis. — participated in the event. In the time since, the City of Metropolis and Metropolis Tourism representatives were in contact with course developers and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the overseeing agency of the park, about placing a permanent course within the park. In June 2013, the Metropolis City Council entered an intergovernmental agreement with IDNR for the course, the city purchasing the disc golf equipment, a $6450 quote from Innova Disc Golf and funded from the city’s Parks & Recreation Department budget. IDNR OK’d the project in July. Once completed, it becomes IDNR property overseen by McGinness.
“This is not something that’s happened overnight,” said Metropolis Alderman Bill Carrell, who is the council’s Parks & Recreation committee chair. “We started working on this a year ago — we considered trying to locate it on city property but due to the tourism and the draw this is going to bring in, we couldn’t find a location suitable. That’s when we contacted Fort Massac: they’ve got parking, they’ve got it all, they’ve got what we need. He’s (McGinness ) worked his tail off to get this going. “
The 18-hole course is 6715 feet long. Spread throughout the park, it starts at the trout pond, progresses up by the campground, crosses over and then goes down by the boat ramp and lower unit, comes around and then through the picnic area adjacent to Fifth Street, going on the old fairgrounds back up to the trout pond.
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