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Fairways, flyways grow in popularity

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It’s a game that consists of throwing a disc into a bucket. It’s called disc golf and it appears to be one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

“Everybody can play,” said Mike Delloro, a loan officer at Vision Bank, active member of Durant Trails and Open Space and an avid disc golfer.

Delloro, and James Bishop, made a presentation to the Durant City Council at its regular meeting last week to push for an 18-hole disc golf course at Lake Durant. The pair, and other members of DTOS, were excited when the city signed onto the project. Delloro said the course will cost about $18,000, which his organization will raise. All they asked of the city is help installing the equipment and regular maintenance once the course is in.

Marty Cook, Durant’s public works director, told the council the plan doesn’t call for the city to do much more than it is already doing at the lake. The council unanimously approved the project.

Delloro said the city isn’t signing onto an unknown. In the summer of 2017, DTOS in conjunction with the city, installed a nine-hole course at Carl Albert Park. According to Delloro, that was at the request of respondents to an Imagine Durant survey asking residents what outdoor activities they’d like to have access to. Disc golf was high on the list.

“That’s really what helped jumpstart all of this,” Delloro said.

Delloro said the Durant Disc Golf League has hosted more than 50 events at the Carl Albert facility. And that doesn’t include the private individuals who regularly play. There are about 35 members of the Durant League, but Delloro said up to 250 casual players also use the course.

According to Delloro, the appeal of the game is its simplicity and low cost. The average disc costs less than $15 and the rules of the game are simple. The players start at a tee box and throw the disc down the course toward a target. The target is usually a bucket or basket suspended on a pole. The object is to get the disc into the target in as few attempts as possible, similar to golf. The terrain often poses challenges in the form of hills, tree limbs, water hazards and other obstacles.

Delloro said the game can be played at a leisurely pace by families who want to spend time together or can be played in the highly competitive professional level typified by the Professional Disc Golfer’s Association. He said the course at Lake Durant will be designed to be professional-grade so the Durant League can attract professional tournaments to the area.

“The 18-hole course will be open to all levels, but there’s going to be a professional level feel,” Delloro said.

He said there are courses in north Texas and in cities north of Durant. By placing the larger course at Lake Durant, the local league will become part of a professional trail of courses providing another venue for disc golfers in this region.

“This will open a pipeline of interest from other areas,” he said.

Delloro said plans are to complete the design of the course by the end of January and begin construction soon after. If fundraising goes well the new, larger course could be in operation by late spring or early summer 2019. If that happens Delloro said the sport will only grow in popularity.

“I fee like the participation level will increase that much more,” he said.

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