Courses for Grand Valley Disc Golf Open will test players’ mental focus

Cale Leiviska, right, of St. Paul, Minn., putts toward the basket as Dave Feldberg of Eugene, Ore., watches during play at the Colorado Disc Golf Point Series tournament at Riverbend Park on Sunday.

This weekend’s Grand Valley Disc Golf Open has a high degree of difficulty.

Today and Sunday, 90 disc golfers will take on two challenging courses in the Grand Valley, beginning with round one at Matchett Park on Patterson Road. Rounds two and three are at Palisade’s Riverbend Park, which hosted the 2008 Colorado State Disc Golf championship.

Josh Fritz is the president of the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club as well as the tournament director, and one of the players in the open division. Fritz said in the tournament’s eighth year, he decided to go back to the tough Matchett Park course.

“I have heard some players say it’s like playing on the surface of the moon because of the color of the dirt over there,” Fritz said. “But that course challenges you mentally and physically. If you start throwing some bad shots, you are down a ravine.”

Situated on the Colorado River, Palisade’s Riverbend Park is one of the premier courses in the state and tests players’ mental toughness to go after the basket.

“There are four or five holes that you have a bad shot and your disc will be chilling in Mexico having margaritas,” Fritz said. “It’s a mental challenge there, where you have to place your disc just right so it doesn’t end up in the river.”

The tournament has 11 different classes for men and women, from an open pro division to intermediate amateurs division. There are several locals playing in the event, but this year’s tournament has its share of out-of-town players. Play begins at 9:30 this morning.

“We have more people coming in from out of town than we have locals,” Fritz said. “That’s the goal of the tournament, because it brings in outside commerce.”

The event will showcase top-notch disc golf, but Fritz said not to expect an uptight feel. He said there is always good camaraderie among disc golf players.

“Having fun is the No. 1 goal for everyone,” Fritz said. “There is competition, but something about disc golfers, we love to just go play a really nice course and have fun.”

Fritz said the public is encouraged to attend the event, which is free for spectators.

“The more people watch the event, the faster it will grow,” Fritz said. “We encourage residents to come out, and we love it when there is a gallery of people.”

The sport is growing in Grand Junction.

The Westlake Park course’s popularity has the City of Grand Junction considering expanding the nine-hole course behind West Middle School to 18 holes.

A community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 30 at the park.

“Westlake is probably the most-played course in the valley,” Fritz said. “You can go out there and see 50 players, which is great, but the problem is, there are long waits. The city has been really receptive and excited about expanding the sport and the course.”

Fritz said the local club is attempting to start another 18-hole course in Grand Junction, as well as courses on the Colorado River in Fruita and Grand Junction to match Palisade’s course.

“Our goal is to have an 18-hole course by the river in each town,” Fritz said. “With that, we can do another major tournament and have three river courses.”


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