Disc golf course open at Vandaveer Ranch | Free content

Disc golf is a sport for everyone, said Skylar Schalit, one of the founders of the HotRDG (Heart of the Rockies Disc Golf) disc golf course at Vandaveer Ranch, which opened in late December.

The other founders are John Sztukowski, Craig Schuchman, Daryl Huschka and Jenny Majeski.

Disc golf has similar rules to golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, it uses three types of discs: drivers, which are thin and have pointed wings; mediums, slower and more precise; and putters, which are the slowest and dullest, typically used for range less than 60 feet. The target is a large metal basket, Shalit said.

Participants can play solo or with a group of people. For tags, considered a normal match, 12 people usually play, Shalit said.

HotRDG was launched as a non-profit in December 2020, the organization was founded in 2021 and the baskets were installed at the end of December.

Schalit started playing disc golf in his early 20s when he moved to Salida in 2004. Disc golf is the ultimate afternoon sport, he said, which means he’s easy to play at a fun level with a diverse group of players.

Schalit comes from many sports including snowboarding, skiing, lacrosse, basketball, track and mountain biking. “I like sports,” he says. “I really love being in nature and I really love athletics and learning how to improve myself.” Disc golf is a change of pace because it’s more laid back than other sports, he added.

He and other founders wanted to create a disc golf course in Salida partly because they saw the need for it — most other resorts have a disc golf course, Schalit said. Salida needed to up her game.

When Schalit returned to Salida after spending more than a decade on the Front Range, he was interested in starting the disc golf course and rallied friends to make it happen. When the city purchased the Vandaveer property, Schalit presented the idea to city officials. City approval and funding was granted, and the team set to work preparing the course and building hiking trails, which turned out to be the hardest part of the job. Schalit said.

The best part of starting the club was the club itself, Shalit said. Referring to the other founders, he said, “All five of us have been friends for quite some time.” He enjoys watching the community grow and seeing new faces, however, and foresees the future of the club with plans to expand to more of the community and involve young people. Disc golf is one of the hardest sports to play well, but anyone can play, he said.

The club currently has at least 34 members.

Games are held weekly on Saturdays and tournaments serve as fundraisers for the club.

To learn more about HotRDG, visit https://www.facebook.com/HotRDG.

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