The Day – No chip shots, just disc shots

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The Day - No chip shots, just disc shots

You may never hear the word “in front”. on the highways, but Norwich now has its first disc golf course.

The 9-hole, par 28 layout is more than 2,400 feet and is located next to the pavilion parking lot on Mohegan Park Road. The first hole is next to the property, the remaining eight are across the street in the forest next to the park pavilion.

“The Mohegan Park Improvement and Development Advisory Committee’s mission is to make the park more attractive,” said Kyle Seitz, the Norwich man behind the creation of the golf course. “I don’t play it all the time, but my friends and I have seen (disc golf) grow in popularity.”

Instead of using clubs and small white balls, disc golfers toss frisbees and frisbee-like discs to get them into metallic baskets in as few throws as possible. In contrast to “normal” golf, disc golf courses require little landscaping. “It has little impact on the environment, but on the other hand, it’s a big environmental attraction to bring people outside. All age groups take part, ”says Seitz.

The course was opened to the public on October 21, after a four-year effort by Seitz and other supporters. In 2017 he introduced the idea to the park committee, which then brought it to the city council. The site was originally proposed for a park on Wilderness Road after an attempt to build the Chelsea Botanical Gardens there failed.

Seitz says the current location has proven to be more practical.

“The site here offers a better opportunity for future expansion,” he said. “It already has an established parking lot and there are toilets nearby.”

Seitz emphasizes that no city money was used to build the course and will not be used in the future either.

“We put boots on the floor and collected every single penny we spent on the course,” he said.

The group has raised nearly $ 9,000 for the effort and is using volunteers to keep the facility in good shape. Seitz says the group actually regularly collected rubbish in the parking lot that was left there by non-course users. Finally, trash cans will be set up along the route, as well as signage and a kiosk that recognizes the most important donors of the project. Seitz praises the city’s public works office for its help and says the workers brought wood shavings for the course. They also placed some large boulders near the tee of the first hole after someone tried to drive down the course.

Andrew Pedro, who is from North Stonington, has played Norwich course a couple of times and likes it.

“It’s more challenging and woodier than a disc course I played in Lisbon,” he said. “Having grown up in Norwich, it’s nice to see something new to bring families to the park.”

Just like traditional golfers who use different types of clubs when playing, Pedro is one of those disc golfers who use different types of discs depending on how far they want to go. “Each slice has a series of numbers that will help you determine which one would be appropriate,” he said.

The course is open daily for free, from sunrise to sunset, first come, first served. Seitz says there is a chance leagues will be formed if there is enough interest. Tournaments could be held when the course is eventually expanded to 18 holes, which can accommodate.

“It all depends on how much the course is used and how many people see how great this activity is for Mohegan Park,” says Seitz.

Greg Wintrob from Waterford was on the course with his four year old twin sons. He also directed efforts to bring the facility to Norwich.

“Disc golf has really grown during the pandemic.” he said. “It’s a nice outdoor activity, sure. People can distance themselves socially. “

Seitz says a golf hole will be set up in the park center and another in a wooded path that is accessible to everyone, including those with physical disabilities.

Tax-deductible donations for course maintenance and improvement can be made by mailing a check to the City of Norwich. Write “Disc Golf” on the sticky note and mail it to Norwich City Hall, 100 Broadway, Norwich 06360. For more information, email Kyle Seitz at seitzk22@yahoo.com.

Kevin Gordon lives in Norwich.

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