Hinsdale gets new disc golf course
Phil Corrigan of Crest Hill tees off on one of the longer holes at the new disc golf course in KLM Park in Hinsdale. The baskets are from 200 to 400 feet from the tees. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Popularity of Disc Golf:
Number of courses worldwide: 3,485 as of 2011
Growth in number of courses:
The United States is the country with the most courses, 2,982, followed by Scandinavia with 218 courses, and Canada with 103.
States with the most disc golf courses:
Total prize money on 2011 Professional Disc Golf Association Tour: $2.2 million
Members in the Professional Disc Golf Association: 16,109
More members are in the 30 to 39 age group (32 percent) than any other.
Thirty percent are in the 20 to 29 age group, followed by 19 percent in the 40 to 49 age group.
Statistics from the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website (www.pdga.com) and as of February 2012.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:09AM
HINSDALE — Hinsdale resident Jeff Cortopassi has been playing disc golf for 40 years.
“I grew up in California where disc golf started,” Cortopassi said.
He plays disc golf about once a week and has played between 20 and 25 disc courses in the Chicago area, including in Lombard, Downers Grove, Joliet and Oak Brook, which is being rebuilt.
“My new favorite is Katherine Legge Memorial Park,” Cortopassi said.
He started asking for a disc golf course there more than 10 years ago. It became part of the master plan for KLM park. As village boards changed and priorities shifted, “disc golf fell off the radar,” Cortopassi said. “Then it was on and off again.”
Hinsdale Director of Parks and Recreation Gina Hassett included a disc golf course in a proposal for a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which was approved last year. She was planning to build only a nine-hole course, when Cortopassi and other disc golf enthusiasts said they would install the course themselves.
“She had a very limited budget and we pitched the idea of a complete volunteer build,” Cortopassi said.
With the grant secured and the offer of free installation, the village could afford the equipment and materials to build an 18-hole, or basket, course.
The goal of disc golf is to land a plastic disc in a basket made of galvanized steel chains on a pole about 4-feet above the ground.
“There’s a lot of changes in elevation, and large, old oak trees and a creek,” Cortopassi said.
Cathy and Mike Kamm, who own a company that sells disc golf equipment, had input on the design, along with Cortopassi and other experienced disc golfers, such as Steve Matul, Bob Ryan, Gary Lewis and Steve Olson.
Disc golf is like regular golf in many ways. Each basket has a par, and there will be three tees from which a person can throw for three different levels of difficulty.
The group also made five bridges on the course, some wooden, some large flagstone stepping stones, to make it easier to cross the creek, which Matul refers to as a ditch. The creek can be played as a hazard, just as in ball golf.
The entire park is mowed, Matul said. “It’s unbelievably groomed. There’s no place to lose a disc out there. Anything that goes in the ditch is extremely retrievable.”
But Cortopassi predicts some will be lost.
“I’m sure someone will lose a disc in one of those trees out there,” he said.