POCATELLO — Disc golfers now have two new courses in the Gate City area.
Last weekend, two professional-level 18-hole disc golf courses were opened to the public at the East Mink Creek Nordic Center south of Pocatello.
Called the Pocatello Sunrise Lions Club Disc Golf Complex, disc golf players can take advantage of a north and a south course. Each course provides approximately 2 and 1/2 miles of walking as players navigate through the existing ski trails and the surrounding mountain terrain.
According to Lance Clark, outdoor supervisor with the Pocatello Parks and Recreation Department, the skill levels of the 36 holes range from intermediate to expert.
However, park officials are able to move each of the baskets to provide disc golfers with more variety.
“These courses are going to challenge people,” Clark said. “You can get away with a lot of bad throws at other disc golf courses, but not here. If your disc goes off the fairway, it could take two or three strokes to get back on.”
Though the sport of disc golf dates back to the 1970s, it didn’t become widely popular until the 1990s.
The rules of disc golf are very similar to traditional golf. But instead of using clubs to hit golf balls, disc golf players throw flying discs in large metal baskets.
It is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, with more than 6,800 courses across the world and more than 35,000 active members listed in the Professional Disc Golf Association’s directory in 2016.
Pocatello currently has three different disc golf courses of varying lengths, terrains and skill levels. These include the popular 9-hole course at Upper Ross Park, the 18-hole Sister City Park course off Pocatello Creek Road and the challenging 18-hole Bengal Ridge off West Buckskin Road.
There are also disc golf courses in Blackfoot, Lava Hot Springs, American Falls and Massacre Rocks State Park.
Though Clark said the two new courses at the East Mink Creek Nordic Center are not very beginner-friendly, city park officials expect them to be an economic driver to the region. There will be a local tournament sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association this weekend, with more expected to be scheduled in the future.
“The quality of the course layout and the equipment will qualify it for the highest level of tournaments,” Clark said.
Plus, the courses’ unique setup is expected to attract avid disc golfers from around the region.
“We expect people to travel from Utah, Wyoming and Montana to spend the weekend playing on these courses,” Clark said. “They will be destination courses.”
The baskets have been installed, but a master map of the two courses is currently in the works, and each hole still needs par signage. Clark said that once the master map is completed, copies will be available at Infinite Discs at 2445 S. 5th Ave.
The Portneuf Health Trust donated $16,800 and the Pocatello Sunrise Lions Club donated $10,000 to help pay for the courses’ infrastructure, while members of the Portneuf Valley Disc Golf Club helped with the construction of the courses.
On Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., a check presentation will be held at the East Mink Creek Nordic Center, where the Portneuf Health Trust will give a $16,800 check to the city of Pocatello.
To visit the disc golf courses at the East Mink Creek Nordic Center, drive south on Mink Creek Road and then turn left on FS 001 Road/E. Fork Mink Creek. Drive approximately 1.6 miles and then turn right on the dirt road marked by the East Mink Creek Nordic Center sign. Follow the dirt road to the parking lot.