In 2015 I received a phone call from a friend of a friend. He had heard that I was a disc golf enthusiast, and wanted to know if I had any interest in helping design and install a disc golf course in the Town of Gardiner’s Majestic Park. Being a busy family man and running my own business, I was hesitant. We talked and I told him I’d think about it. After I hung up the phone, I thought about it for about 30 seconds, and quickly realized I would be a fool to pass up this opportunity! I had been playing disc golf since 2002, and always dreamt of building a course. I called back right away and that started the many, many hours I would spend with Brian Houser in Majestic Park and the adjoining woods on Town property along the Wallkill.
If you’ve never heard of disc golf, you wouldn’t be the first to tell me so. It is a low impact and fun sport, which is relatively inexpensive to get into. 90% of the courses are free to play, and discs start at about $8 each. Like ball golf, not many people are experts when they start. It takes some practice, and patience. It is a meditative experience, where you get to hike some great parks while challenging your skill. Discs can be found at many online retailers or at sporting goods stores. There are also plenty of online video tutorials to help with your game.
Fast forward to 2022, and the course is thriving. We have seen license plates from far and wide parked at Majestic Park with passengers pulling their disc gear out of the trunk. We have a local club which puts on events to help maintain and improve the course. This includes the installation of proper concrete tee pads and trimming the trails and fairways. We host four tournaments a year. Our February tournament is a fundraiser for the Gardiner Fire Department, where in two years we have raised roughly $2,000.
Our goal has always been to improve upon the park without disturbing any of the existing facilities or wildlife. We have seen the interest grow within the community (www.facebook.com/groups/1664491600458107), and it puts a smile on my face to meet new people on the course, or hear a local say “Hey, I played Majestic yesterday!”
Disc golf has gained an enormous amount of exposure in the past decade, with the number of courses, players, sponsorships, and companies getting a huge bump. The pro tour can be watched online and some of the pros are getting multi-million-dollar contracts with disc manufacturers. We are talking about men and women who can throw over 500 feet! We aim to foster a local environment which continues to grow the sport in our region. Perhaps we will see a local pro emerge from the Gunks!
Grab some discs, and some friends, and we’ll see you at Majestic!