Golf isn’t for everyone, and Dale Ezyk knows it.
The golf professional said he wanted to do something different to broaden his clientele and introduce even the most novice player to the game. He knew he had the space at Colonial Acres, he just needed the idea.
That’s when John Andrews, the head golf professional at Colonial Acres, suggested disc golf.
“Our vision has always been to make the golf course a community asset for all of Bethlehem’s residents,” said Ezyk. “This is something anyone can do, and it may appeal to those who aren’t fans of traditional golf.”
Andrews said he thought of the idea a month ago, when he began doing extensive research. They are now fully committed to the sport, having bought a 900-piece set, which will allow customers to rent the equipment needed for a round. Beginner sets can also be purchased within the shop.
The rules for disc golf are similar to traditional golf. Players “tee off” from a designated area and attempt to get their discs into a metal basket at the end of each hole. The discs used are a bit smaller and heavier than a traditional disc. Three types of discs are used, consisting of a driver, mid-range disc and a putter.
“Right now, disc golf is the fastest growing sport in America,” said Andrews. “We came up with the idea because we have a location and layout that would be perfect. It also ties in with introducing more people to the game.”
Ezyk said the hope is those who come to play disc golf may eventually want to take up traditional golf. He also anticipates the opposite will happen, with golfers coming out of their comfort zone to pick up a disc.
Colonial Acres is working closely with members of the Capital Region Disc Golf Club to come up with the layout of the course and spread the word about the new venture. Andrews said the metal baskets have yet to be permanently placed in the ground as they go through trial runs.
Ezyk said he’s heard from many disc golf players who are excited to have a permanent place to play. Many local parks have one or two baskets, but there can be problems with disc theft and confusion over which tee players are on if multiple games are going at once.
Andrews said the shop will carry everything a person needs to play the game, or players can bring their own equipment. In order to accommodate both traditional and disc golfers, tee times will be staggered.
The price to play is $10 per person, which also includes equipment rental. Players are provided a map of the new course, and Andrews will help people through the first hole while going over the instructions and etiquette.
“I think this is something very affordable and that a whole family can do,” said Andrews. “You can’t even go to a movie anymore for that price.”
Ezyk, a golf pro with 22 years of experience, has been operating Colonial Acres since April 2013. He has a three-year operating agreement with the town, while the town continues to lease the course from the Open Space Conservancy. The town and land conservancy will also split a small portion of all profits on a sliding scale, except those earned through private tutorials.
“Everyone we’ve talked to is really excited to have a disc golf course right in Albany County,” said Ezyk. “We’re very encouraged by the reaction we’re getting and hope everyone finds it to be fun.”