SANDPOINT — As bang for your buck goes, it’s pretty tough to beat the brand new Vandal Disc Golf Course in Sandpoint, which recently opened for play on the University of Idaho’s land off of Boyer Avenue.
The cost to play the 5,680 foot, 18 hole par 64 layout is just one dollar, money that ultimately pays for mowing, a bathroom and course maintenance.
The course features a variety of features, including ravines, water, trees and elevation change, and requires a diversity of shots that presents a challenge to all skill levels.
An average of more than 200 people per week have been playing the course since its soft opening recently, with nearly half coming from out of town. Once new tee box signs are installed soon, there will be an official grand opening, the culmination of hundreds of volunteer hours, many put in by local Rick Leader, the driving force behind the project.
“I encourage everyone to come out and give it a try,” said Leader, an avid disc golfer who worked with the University of Idaho to get permission to build the course. “It really is community backing, a huge community thing. We’re all looking at it as a long term thing.”
Disc golf continues to emerge as one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. It’s played like actual golf, with players trying to traverse the course in the fewest number of disc throws possible. The longest hole on the Vandal course is 540 feet, and the shortest is 170 feet, each ending when a player “putts” their disc into a chain basket.
So far the course has played to rave reviews, with golfers commenting on the diversity and fun nature of the 18 hole loop, which features two different sets of tee boxes.
“You have to really think about where you’re throwing it. You have to be a shot maker,” described Leader. “It’s so beautiful, and there have been nothing but positive comments. We’re looking forward to next year, when we can start hosting tournaments.”
Courses in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and Farragut State Park see tons of action, with a loyal and dedicated group of players. The number of disc golf courses has more than doubled in the past decade, and the game is now played in more than 40 countries around the world. The best players can heave the disc more than 500 feet, nearly double the length of a football field.
Sandpoint’s Jimmy Soderberg played the course earlier this week with his father, and like most, had nothing but positive comments.
“It’s awesome, really unique,” said Soderberg. “There are wide open areas, and you go in the forest. It gives you a little bit of everything.”
There is a league night on Monday at 5:30 p.m. for anyone interested. The informal league features a $50 ace pot, as well as a closest to the pin on one of the shorter holes, so everyone has a chance to contend.