THE HISTORY OF DISC GOLF
IN LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA
Disc Golf was introduced to the Lafayette area in the summer of 1996. Since many of the current players weren’t around back then, I thought I’d give a brief history of how it all started.
Would you believe it all started at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green? Well sort of…it seems that Greg Gautreaux, who is now the Athletic Program Manager of Parks and Recreation for the City of Lafayette, saw some students playing a sport which they called “Frisbee Golf”, throwing these odd looking “frisbees” into a basket with chains. That was back in the old days…ya’ know the late 80’s and early 90’s!
Greg was so enthused by this weird game that when he became a Phys Ed teacher, he incorporated it into his curriculum. Only they threw regular frisbees and used hula-hoops as targets. Later on when Greg came to the Parks and Recreation Department, he wanted to make good use of unused areas of park land and, of course, Frisbee Golf was one thing he had in mind. So he put his computer knowledge to use and did a search for “Frisbee Golf” on the World Wide Web.
Now, if you do a search today, you’ll get the same results…the #1 site listed is the PDGA. From their site he found the closest listed courses and some guy by the name of Jim Orum as the contact.
Well Greg contacted Jim, and to make a long story short, Jim came down to Lafayette and he and Greg toured all the parks. It was decided to first put a 9-hole course in Girard Park and an 18-hole course was planned for Acadiana Park.
In May of 1996, I moved to Lafayette and Jim Orum asked me to be the local contact. All the groundwork had been done; it was just a matter of following through and getting the word out about the courses.
In September of 1996, the Girard Park course was put in; the city did all the work based on Jim O’s design. Up until that time, all we had was an object course in a park in St. Martinville, where I worked, with only a hand full of us playing occasionally. And a course in Leesville using crab nets as baskets…we did hold a “World’s Biggest” there in 1992 and had 52 players…and all the crabs we could eat!
The Girard course was started on a Tuesday and completed by Friday afternoon, tee pads and all! I remember going out there after work and seeing 2 foursomes already playing…instant success!
The design for Acadiana Park had been done even before Girard was built, but budget constraints kept it from becoming a reality until the Fall of 1997. In the meantime I had compiled a good list of players, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Among those were two of the most enthusiastic players I have ever met…Joey and Karin VanDuzee.
We had about 8 or 9 or us along with Jim O and his crew (as I recall that was 1 other guy) to help carve the Acadiana Park course. Using some of the existing walking and biking paths, the course was built it 2 days, though it did take about 2 more weeks before all the baskets were in. Joey and Karin offered to do the tee signs and, in the meantime, we played from temporary stakes, three of which were changed when the permanent signs were installed. So, when someone says, “Let’s play the original 18”, I bet they don’t even know where they were! ;-p
On April 4, 1998, headed by Joey and Karin, we held our first ever Disc Golf tournament in Acadiana Park. And the rest, as they say, is Disc Golf History!
From there, we have added pro stakes on the original course, another 18 holes, concrete tee pads and other amenities. We have two full 18-hole courses and one of the most beautiful courses in the state…naw! THE most beautiful course in the state!
To learn more about the Acadiana Park Disc Golf Course, go to: http://www.acadianaparkdiscgolf.com
To learn more about the Girard Park Disc Golf Course, go to: http://www.fotojoeusa.com/GIRARD/GIRARD.htm
To learn more about the 'Pa” Davis Park Disc Golf Course, go to: http://www.fotojoeusa.com/PADAVIS/PADAVIS.htm