Chain Bangers: Darby’s men’s dream of a community disc golf course comes true | Local news

Chain Bangers rules are simple at Darby’s new River Park Disc Golf Course

“Be human,” said course co-founder Rick Spross. “And make sure you have fun.”

The definition of human is also quite simple. Do not throw your records to passers-by. Pick up your own garbage. Be kind to others.

And don’t expect Spross or his fellow disc golf course builder Jeremiah Bennett to tell you about the rules.

“We’re not going to be putting rules on anyone,” Spross said with a smile.

Rather, the two young fathers are focused on making sure their community has something new that will encourage children to put down their video game controllers and get out with family and friends to enjoy the natural space in. their own backyard.

The 18-hole disc golf course created by the pair after making their way through local government policy and gaining the support of many Darby businesses is already gaining ground.

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One day last summer, Spross was surprised to find almost 50 people in the field.

The idea of ​​a disc golf course for Darby sprang up as the two men played on other courses in Victor and Missoula.

“We figured if we could get something here that everyone could enjoy it would save them the trip to other places,” Bennett said. “It would be nice to have a course a little closer to home. And we knew everyone likes to play new courses, so that might bring people to town. “

After navigating on a small speed bump following a misunderstanding about the impact of the route on access to the park and receiving the green light from the city council, the men set to work to clean up a decade of fallen branches and other debris from the fairways of the new course. They used their own lawn mowers and weedkillers to mow the grass. And they set up the tee boxes and baskets that marked the two ends of a hole.

They both invested hundreds of hours to make their dream for the community come true.

“We started off as being the ones doing the job and then more people got involved,” said Spross. “It was not a project carried out by the employees of the city. They were all volunteers.

The two were pleasantly surprised early in the building process to hear chains snapping (hence the name of their disc golf club) along the course as the discs made their way through the chain baskets.

“People were showing up and playing while we were building it,” Bennett said. “We didn’t advertise. They just noticed when the baskets started to appear. We saw children, their parents and the elderly there. It’s nice to see the variety of people showing up and playing.

Neither had done anything similar before.

“We just put our heads together and what we saw walking through the park just came together,” Spross said. “When we designed it, we wanted to make sure we didn’t change anything. The turns that people find on the course are just like before.

The popularity of disc golf is on the rise.

“The concept is like golf, but instead of hitting a ball you’re going to throw a disc,” Bennett said. “The only difference is it’s a lot cheaper to start with and it doesn’t cost a thing to play our course.”

Discs cost between $ 10 and $ 30. People can play the course with a single disc or they can splurge and buy discs of different sizes that serve as drivers, midrange, and putters.

“It’s just fun,” Spross said. “You don’t have to be good at it. We are not here to compete. We just want to have a place where a group of people can get together, have fun, talk, and stay socially distanced if they want to. “

The Chain Banger Club has a working winter league. The men are hoping that this spring, when the temperatures warm up, they can offer some lessons to students at Darby School.

“As a kid growing up in Darby, it was tough because you didn’t really have a lot to do,” Spross said. “It really occurred to me when I had children. Darby needs a place where the kids and their families can go and do something together.

“I really hope this will bring something positive to our community,” he said. “We want it to be something that people can see and say, hey, this is good for this city. “

Darby’s mayor, Ruth Lendrum, believes they’ve accomplished just that.

“This is a very nice addition to our city,” said Lendrum. “I think the city thinks it’s a wonderful activity for families and young people. As the park slopes down to the river, people who go there to play disc golf can also fish or stroll on the beach.

Lendrum was encouraged to see the two take their idea through the public process which included a meeting full of supportive people.

“This included the former mayor going there and playing disc golf with his grandchildren,” she said. “I feel like they’ve learned so much about the political process and how to make it work. We are a small town and we are always looking for people to get involved in politics.

But Lendrum said she was very proud of them for all of their hard work and focus on a project they felt was important to build for their children.

“Who can doubt the ability of two young fathers who want to do something for their children to achieve? ” she said.

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