The discs are set to start flying soon at Battle Point Park.
At last week’s park board meeting, which saw two board members absent, the board voted unanimously to approve a proposal which will bring a nine-hole disc golf course to Battle Point Park.
Officials said it will be a trial period for the new attraction.
Greg Scharrer is an organizer with the group that has been working with the park district since December to bring a course to Bainbridge Island.
While the nine-hole course effectively cuts in half the original proposal that players wanted — an 18-hole course spanning the north and south ends of the park — and also drops out cement tee pads that golfers wanted for lower-quality mulch pads, Scharrer said that he is still very happy to see a course coming to Battle Point Park.
“A nine-hole trial is great; that will give us time to get others in the community involved and they’ll see that it’s a fun new recreational opportunity and that we’ve laid out a safe and responsible course design,” Scharrer said.
At last week’s park board meeting, some islanders were still asking for a thumbs down from officials.
Park District Executive Director Terry Lande said that when the organizers for the course opted to reduce the scope of the proposed course, limiting the project to the southern nine holes, many opponents found the compromise agreeable.
“That got a round of applause,” Lande said.
“A number of people who were dissenting were happy that they had backed off on the north end. There was pretty strong opposition to the north end,” he added.
The main concerns raised by opponents at the meeting, Lande said, were the risk of injury and changing the mood and ambiance of the south end of the park.
“I think the main thing that came up a number of times was not being able to just walk and not pay attention; feeling like you had to be aware of your surroundings more than you would have otherwise,” Lande said.
The disc course will be the latest addition to Battle Point Park, following the recent completion of a bicycle pump track on the property. Debate over adding a route for Frisbee-chucking “golfers” continued through the week of the board vote, with all sorts of comments being tossed around, on social media, and ultimately, at the board meeting.
Still, Scharrer said the conversation surrounding the project was largely positive.
“I thought it was a really, pretty constructive conversation all around. I was really impressed with the parks board; I thought they did a really good job of summarizing their views before the vote,” Scharrer said of the meeting.
Scharrer also said that he hoped a trial period would allow enough time for those who were concerned about the impact of a disc golf course on the park to see that there’s nothing to fear.
“I think it will calm down lots of people,” Scharrer said.
“If people are all aggravated, they’re going to be aggravated. There’s some people that you’re not going to persuade; that’s life,” he added.
While for now it won’t be the big course he and other organizers had hoped for, Scharrer said that what will be built certainly will grow enthusiasm and appreciation for disc golf on the island.
“It’s going to be a nice entry-level, mid-level course. It’s going to give exposure to the game to lots of people and hopefully generate some interest,” Scharrer added.
A timeline has not yet been set on when construction will begin, but Scharrer said that drafting a memorandum of understanding with the park district and a fundraising campaign will be the next steps for the group.