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Feature: Disco Golf at Dairy Creek offers day and night options 

Disc duffers’ delight

Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. and the easiest and least expensive sport to get into. A set of three discs sells for as little as $20, and an 18-hole round at the Dairy Creek Disc Golf course is only $5.

Hideous pants and funny hats optional.

Sure, throwing discs at targets may seem weird, but there are nearly 100,000 active members of the Professional Disc Golf Association and an estimated half a million regular players in the U.S. Its growth as a sport since its 1970s beginnings have been exponential. Between 8 million and 12 million people have played disc golf at least once in their lives.

click to enlarge Dudley Schusterick (left) and Jaimal Hanson (right) designed the 18-hole disc golf course at Dairy Creek to take advantage of the natural environment, its grasslands, and its setting among the Seven Sisters. - PHOTO COURTESY OF DUDLEY SCHUSTERICK AND JAIMAL HANSON
  • Dudley Schusterick (left) and Jaimal Hanson (right) designed the 18-hole disc golf course at Dairy Creek to take advantage of the natural environment, its grasslands, and its setting among the Seven Sisters.

The origins of disc golf are as murky as the Frisbee itself. Did New England college kids in Connecticut throwing empty Frisbie Pie Company tins “invent” the flying disc idea? Did Los Angeles building inspector Walter Frederick Morrison with help from Warren Franscioni create the first plastic version called a Pluto Platter? Does the honor go to “Steady” Ed Headrick, an inventor at Wham-O who patented the design for the modern Frisbee in 1966? Probably, but what about disc golf itself?

We know that in addition to the Frisbee, in 1975 Headrick also patented the Disc Golf Pole Hole, the basis of all disc golf targets today, but let’s not forget the story of Ronald Brandon Cain and his elementary school pals who in 1965 regularly played what they called Tin Lid Golf, throwing tin lids into 4-foot-wide circles drawn in sandy patches on their school grounds.

We’ll never know the exact origins of disc golf, but on any given day, you’ll find disc golfers walking one of the many Central Coast courses located in Sinsheimer Park, Laguna Lake Park, Heilmann Regional Park, Waller Park, and other locations. Most of these course are free to use, but by many accounts, the best local course is at Dairy Creek Golf Course. Designed by Dudley Schusterick and Jaimal Hanson, they call it “The Wild West Course at Dairy Creek.” The pair also operates a disc golf company called Prodigy Disc.

The course is 7,500 feet long, or about 1.42 miles to walk. There’s also a pro-length course they set up for tournaments that’s 8,500 feet or 1.6 miles. The course at Dairy Creek hosted three professional tournaments last year.

Schusterick has designed a number of courses. Originally from Southern California, he’s been in SLO County about 20 years, loves the local flora and fauna, and is committed to preserving it.


“The idea was to retain the most natural setting possible to minimize upkeep on the property,” he explained of Dairy Creek. “This is one of the most beautiful courses in the state, if not the country, with all its natural grasslands and wildlife—hawks, coyotes, turkeys, deer, king and gofer snakes—all the wildlife blows my mind, and the Seven Sisters are beautiful.”

Dairy Creek is just off Highway 1 near El Chorro Regional Park, and while it boasts a nine-hole ball golf course (at a reasonable $23 a round), the disc golf course feels less like a walk through mowed fairways and manicured greens and more like a nature hike. You might pass an electric fence penning in a small herd of goats used for weed abatement. Look up and you might see a falcon soaring above. It’s open space all around. Upgrades have been limited to tee pads from which to throw and some benches to sit on.

No reservations are necessary. Show up, check in at the pro shop, pony up $5, and you’re off. They sell discs for about $10 each in the shop if you need some. The first tee is behind the ball golfing range. There’s also the Dairy Creek Glow Disc Golf Course ($10 per event, typically on the second and fourth Friday nights each month), which uses glowing discs at night.

“I’m a volunteer,” Schusterick noted, “and I love it because it’s so good for the community. I just love the attitude that disc golfers bring.”

His aim for Dairy Creek is to make it a disc golf destination, the “disc golf epicenter of the West! Disc golf generates thousands of dollars when a city becomes a disc golf destination from people traveling, tournaments, and so on.”

Part of the vision is hosting a major professional tournament called The Wild West Open, which is in the works, but the great thing about disc golf is it’s always ready when you are.

“Disc golfing is like fishing,” Schusterick quipped. “You know what they say: A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.”


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