It’s a simple analogy: Flying discs are to disc golf what golf balls are to standard golf.
The San Francisco Disc Golf Club, which for five years has been voluntarily maintaining its 18-hole course in Golden Gate Park, has offered up a rough draft of one in McLaren Park — something the group has long wanted. It’s an idea that in 2005 was approved by the Recreation and Park Commission.
But the sound of 18 galvanized-steel baskets, unnatural wooden footpaths and concrete pads for the course that would blanket about one-third of McLaren Park has faced opposition for years.
“How is that supposed to improve the park?” said Ken McGary, who has lived a half-mile from McLaren Park for 10 years and helped in the past few weeks to organize the group Save McLaren Park in response to the course layout. “The destruction of undergrowth and ground cover alone in Golden Gate Park is horrifying.”
Eager to move forward, Disc Golf Club President Jeffery Bowling and at least two Recreation and Park Department representatives met last week with more than 100 people who seemed to be “evenly divided between supporters and opponents,” Bowling said.
The Disc Golf Club has more than 300 members who donate at least $40 a year to keep it going, and they’re eager to realize their long-sought plan and submit it for environmental review.
“We built the course in Golden Gate Park completely. We donated $60,000 and 4,200 volunteer hours as a gift to The City,” Bowling said. “But this has been disappointing, I have to say. There’s a lot of opposition.”
The group absorbed complaints about the course tromping a precious, off-leash dog area, along with the natural habitat of California poppies and blue lupines, among several other concerns.
“Our main objective is to activate the spaces at McLaren Park. This has proven to be a successful model in Golden Gate Park, and we’d like to build on that success at McLaren Park,” Rec and Park spokesman Elton Pon said. “We are currently in the planning stages and will move forward in concert with the San Francisco Disc Golf Club and the community.”
Flying discs in San Francisco
1997 Year San Francisco Disc Golf Club was founded
2007 Year 18-hole course opened in Golden Gate Park
$40 Suggested annual donation to the club
3,000 Disc golf courses in the U.S.
317 Acreage of McLaren Park
25 Acreage of McLaren Park course would take up
18 Steel targets
Source: San Francisco Disc Golf Club