Recently I submitted the following to the Medford Mail Tribune to consider for publication in the Guest Opinion section. Apparently, they declined to publish it as I have not heard anything from them and it has not appeared. I freely admit that I am not a writer, but dog-gone-it somebody should read it...TIA
“Well, ain't this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere! “ exclaimed the visibly frustrated character Ulysses Everett McGill in the 2000 Movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. In the Movie Everett, played by George Clooney, had been informed that a Part from the “Ford Auto Man” would arrive in two weeks, and that his preferred hair product, “Dapper Dan”, would also require the same wait.
Well, ain't this Jackson County a geographical oddity. No Disc Golf anywhere! If you live in Medford, and enjoy the family fun of throwing a Frisbee at a Basket, you may feel this way. The closest option is to travel to one of the courses in Grants Pass. Tom Pearce is a fun and challenging 18 hole course along the Rogue River and Riverside is a short 9 hole learning course along the River in town. Josephine County also boasts Lake Selmac, Indian Mary and Wolf Creek parks that have Disc Golf Courses installed. It is not uncommon to see entire families, from senior to stroller, enjoying what is both a Game and a Sport. Play is very much like traditional Golf except with flying Frisbee discs.
The further north one travels the more courses are found. Oregon State Parks, most of the County Parks, and many City Park authorities north of Jackson County have successfully installed the inexpensive courses. Often disc golf courses reform blighted areas, and are generally maintained by the local clubs. For many who play, Oregon is considered a Mecca for Disc Golf and families plan vacations around Oregon's best courses. Jackson County stands alone on the Oregon I-5 corridor without a basket course, even Weed California has two courses with 54 baskets.
In Estacada, the annual Beaver State Fling tournament attracts some of the best touring Pros in the sport. Along with our local Pros 150 players competed for almost 40 thousand dollars in prize money in 2011. Our State also has several Collegiate Disc golf teams and in fact the University of Oregon team was the National Collegiate Disc Golf Champions for 2011. The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) has also awarded Oregon with two upcoming Major events; The United States Women's Disc Golf Championships for 2013 and the PDGA Pro Disc Golf World Championships for 2014
There was an ill-fated course in a small Medford park many years ago. Simply put, it was too near an Elementary School, too near its neighbors, and too far from a restroom. It was wisely removed in 2008 and the Rogue Valley Disc Golf Club received permission from Parks and Recreation to use some land along Bear Creek and I-5 to set up a course. Unfortunately due to land use regulations that course was soon removed. In spite of these hardships the club has over 120 current members.
The Chrissy Park Master plan includes a Disc Golf course however, the Parks and Recreation position is that access to Chrissy Park is dependent on roadwork that the Medford Water Commission may provide in 5 to 10 years. Local players want Parks and Recreation to at least allow gravel where the first parking lot will eventually be, a stones throw from Cherry lane, and let players hike the rest of the way in for now.
Recently, some local players started playing on private pasture land near White City. Now they have had to abandon this course. EFU zoning in Jackson County is approved for members of a club to fly small-scale versions of airplanes, gliders, helicopters, dirigibles or balloons, but it is a violation for members of a club to fly Frisbees. The Disc Club was hopeful they would obtain an exemption, similar to one a Model Airplane Club would enjoy, allowing them to stay but - Well, ain't this Jackson County a geographical oddity.