Disc golf reopens at Northwest Vista College, sport booming during the pandemic

by | Oct 14, 2021 | Disc Golf

Northwest Vista College has reopened its public disc golf course after it closed during the 2020 pandemic.

The space at Far West Side College was first established in 2011 and then redesigned in 2017. There are 18 holes or baskets on campus. Many live oak and cedar trees have deep-set branches that pose a challenge for players.

Players must throw their plastic discs around and through the trees to hit chains that sit above each basket on par 54. The chains clang with every direct hit.

Brian Kirkpatrick

Northwest Vista College President Ric Baser, who plays disc golf himself, shows off his set of discs.

Northwest Vista College President Ric Baser is a huge fan of the course. He said the game attracted many new members during the pandemic.

“There was a 35% national growth,” he said. “The Professional Disc Golf Association is something I know myself and my two boys are members, but Texas has the largest membership in the United States with nearly 5,000 members.”

Trees aren’t the only obstacles for gamers. Players will also have to throw discs across Lago Vista, the campus’ artificial lake, to make it into one of the 18 baskets. The lake has become a watery grave for many disks, which are sometimes fished out with nets.

“Someone out there with a net is going to be up to their waist and have a lot of it,” Baser said. “The problem is that we use dark water. This is how we can justify it. We’re watering it down too.

Four players enjoyed the game on the day Texas Public Radio visited the course. One looked for his disk, which was stuck in a tree, and another tried to get his disk out of the lake. Joshua Hyson was among them. Would he go into the water if necessary?

“We can, but it’s not comfortable. You know, we try to avoid that as much as we can because the goal is not to throw it into the water,” he said.

JohsuaHyson tries to fishDiscouofthecampuslakeLagoVista_Kirkpatrick.jpg

Brian Kirkpatrick

Johsua Hyson tries to fish a disc out of the campus lake Lago Vista.

Player Emanuel Martinez and his friend Nate Martin said that part of the game was seeing trees eating the panes.

“Almost every time we play it’ll go in. We looked for a CD there for ten minutes,” he said.

Nate Martin said that each disc is designed to fly a little differently to reach a basket, even one called a putter for a short throw.

“Depending on the way they fly, they can be either stable, over-stable, or under-stable. So over-stable just means that the disc cuts more to the left if you are right-handed, and under-stable goes more to the right,” he said.

Terms like stable are part of the vocabulary of sport. There are dozens of other words like Flippy, a term for a very unstable disk, and a brick, a term for a disk that quickly falls to the ground.

The game isn’t just about the discs. College President Baser and other players agree that it’s all about throwing technique.

“There are many different techniques. I am a traditional right-handed backhand thrower. But I know my youngest son throws side-armed this way

“I used to think I could kick him out, but now he’s throwing 430 feet. And because I’m 63, my throws have dropped to 250 feet,” Baser said with a chuckle.

The sport is affordable. There are no green fees and discs cost about $ 9. And the game can be played in shorts and t-shirts.

Emanuel Martinez said San Antonio has a healthy disc golf community.

Emanuel Martinez prepares a putt on the Northwest Vista Disk Golf Course.

Brian Kirkpatrick

Emanuel Martinez prepares a putt on the Northwest Vista Disc Golf Course.

“It’s very relaxed and the player base is very friendly, you can come out at any time. You meet random people and they’ll say, oh, you want to join in, you can play with us. They give you tips and there are a lot of friendly people out here. “

Players said the sport is not difficult to learn and there are YouTube videos about throwing techniques.
Nate Martin thinks groups of friends should try.

“I think a lot of people will like it,” he said. You just play a game with your friends, walk through the woods, talk, have fun. “

The course at Northwest Vista College is open to the public from morning to night. Players must bring their own equipment. To learn more about the sport, visit the Professional Disc Golf Association website at PDGA.com.