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Covington’s new 18-hole disc golf course in Devou Park gearing up for early fall opening

The 18-hole disc golf course runs throughout Devou Park. (Image from City of Covington; click for larger image)

Get out your distance drivers, fairway drivers, mid-range drivers, and putters… and note we’re talking about discs, not clubs.

That’s because by early fall The Cov will have its own 18-hole disc golf course in Devou Park.

LK Concrete recently poured concrete pads for the 18 tees, and crews from Public Works’ Devou Park/Urban Forestry Division are finishing up dressing the area around those pads with gravel and fixing challenges related to the slope.

“We’ve got three tees left to do,” Supervisor Jason Roberts said.

Meanwhile, Covington got notice Wednesday that the baskets for the course, which had been on back order for months, were finally on their way from Georgia, said Covington Parks & Rec Manager Ben Oldiges. Once the baskets arrive, volunteers will install them.

Apparently, there will be no shortage of help.

“Cincy Disc Golf put out an all-call on Facebook, and the post got nearly 300 ‘likes,’ ” Oldiges said.

Oldiges said that engagement speaks to the increasing popularity of the sport, especially here in Greater Cincinnati, and that Covington had long sought to engage with that popularity.

“A disc golf course is something that we have been missing for a very long time within the Covington parks system,” Oldiges said.

Light equipment operator Chad Hyland, left, and grounds worker Tim Moore of Public Works’ Devou Park/Urban Forestry Division dressed the area around the disc golf tees with gravel. (Image from City of Covington)

“This new course is going to bring a new massive and passionate crowd to Devou Park, and because of this, the influx of people will affect the urban core in a very positive way. It should bring energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to a park that already has a high level of energy in place.”

Once dismissed as a fad, disc golf has matured to a professional sport, and the trajectory of its popularity continues to rise.

The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) estimates that more than a million people regularly play the game. In 2021, there were 1,748 registered PDGA members in Kentucky, and the state is home to 132 disc courses.

The rules for disc golf are similar to traditional golf by way of scoring and etiquette, but, obviously, the equipment differs. That said, it’s a lot more than just throwing Frisbees.

Standing on what is generally a 4-foot by 6-foot concrete tee box, a player aims their disc toward a chain basket that’s placed no less than 100 feet from the tee box.

These discs differ from Frisbee-style discs in that they have a thinner profile and a sharper outer edge so as to increase aerodynamics and distance. As the beginning of this article suggested, there are different discs used for different parts of the course.

Just like with mainstream golf, the idea is to complete the course in the fewest throws.

Covington began its planning a year ago, and the location and layout for the course were approved by the Devou Park Advisory Committee in November 2021. It’s funded by the Devou Trust and Devou Properties Inc., Oldiges said.

As current plans stand, the course will be open to the public for free play year-round during park hours, which are dawn to dusk. Parks & Rec will also organize tournaments, including one tied to a grand opening ceremony later this fall.

Oldiges praised the work of Dr. Ryan Freibert, who plays the sport semi-professionally and served as a consultant and planner for Covington for the course’s creation.

“Dr. Freibert took the lead in the design of the course and has been instrumental in the implementation process,” said Oldiges. “This project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the countless hours and time he has put into this initiative.”

During a presentation to the Covington Board of Commissioners on Jan. 11, Freibert mentioned the national pro tour tournament held annually at Idlewild Park in Burlington since 2018, and a million-dollar contract that had been recently signed by a professional player.

“There is a lot of money coming into this sport. It’s not just kids throwing Frisbees in a park,” he said. “If this is big as we think it’s going to be…”

City of Covington

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