Addition of new course in Fruita shows popularity of disc golf in Grand Valley
The future of disc golf in the Grand Valley is bright.
A new 18-hole course at the Fruita Riverside Park, along with the Palisade Riverbend Park course, will host the Colorado Disc Golf State Championships in October.
The new course in Fruita, which begins at the Snooks Bottom open space, is the second disc golf course in Fruita — joining the course at Little Salt Wash Park. In the Grand Valley, there are also disc golf courses at West Lake Park, Matchett Park and Palisade Riverbend Park.
“When I took over as president, we wanted to promote the sport and get more courses in the valley,” Grand Valley Disc Golf Club President Rock Cesario said. “If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
The Fruita Riverside course was designed by Grand Junction resident Bill Alderman and installed by Alderman and John Bird of Birdie Disc Golf.
“It has 52 or 53 different pin positions that can be set up,” Alderman said. “I designed it with the whole idea to give amateurs a chance to play and enjoy it, but then have a few longer holes with tournament position to make it a championship-caliber course.”
The Fruita Riverfront course will alleviate some of the pressure on the other courses.
“We could get away with four championship courses in this valley and it still would not meet the disc golf demand,” Alderman said. “If you go to West Lake on a Wednesday or Friday night, you have to wait 25 minutes to play.”
Building the Fruita Riverside course allowed the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club to secure the 2011 state championships Oct. 15-16. The 2008 state championships were conducted at Palisade.
“If we play one course we are limited to 90 players, but with the two courses we can have 180 players,” Cesario said. “That maximizes the amount of players that come to and make an economic impact on the valley.”
This year, the only hurdle with moving forward the disc golf scene in the Grand Valley has been the rising of the Colorado River. The popular Palisade course has a significant area underwater, and the Fruita course hasn’t been able to fully open because of the high water.
“(At Palisade) we are losing concrete (for tee boxes), we are losing trees and we are losing park,” Cesario said. “We might have to move it a little bit away from the water.”
Cesario said that there is usually some water damage every spring to the Palisade course, but this year has been the worst.
“We’ve had water damage eating away at No. 11 because it had natural erosion along the bank,” Cesario said. “They put a bunch of rocks in there last year to remedy that, but it all went away this year.”
Cesario said it’s important to get the Palisade course back in working order because of the importance it holds for disc golf on the Western Slope.
“Palisade is a world-class course,” Cesario said. “I’ve played with Pete Shive, who is a nine-time world champ, and he’s said that course was in the top five he’s ever played.”
The Fruita Riverfront course has some areas under water, but it’s more of a backwater issue according to Ture Nycum, the director of Fruita’s Parks and Recreation department.
“When Birdie designed it, they placed a lot of tee boxes and baskets on higher ground,” Nycum said. “It’s not flowing water, so nothing got washed out.”
Nycum added the Riverfront course is a welcome addition to the Fruita Parks and Rec system.
“It’s awesome because there is a demand out there and there are a lot of disc golfers in the valley,” Nycum said. “We only have a nine-hole technical short course (Little Salt Wash), so adding the Riverfront course will be different and it’ll bring players into Fruita from around the valley.”
For more information on disc golf in the Grand Valley go to gvdiscgolf.org.