Saturday is National Disc Golf Day, and the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park and the Capital Region Disc Golf Club are teaming up for an event to promote the sport that is growing in popularity.
"They reached out to us," said Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park secretary Eric Spaulding, who recently took up the sport that follows the rules and terminology of golf but uses discs and elevated metal targets instead of balls and clubs. "They have the talent and the equipment, and we wanted to be affiliated."
Members of the Capital Region Disc Golf Club will be leading a pair of free demonstration sessions Saturday, the first beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the second starting at noon, at the park's disc golf course near the Peerless Pool. They will be discussing rules of play and the usage of different discs, giving playing tips, and even showing some tricks for more advanced players.
"There are no age restrictions," Spaulding said. "No athletic restrictions."
"There are no barriers," added Tim DeFranco, a Capital Region Disc Golf Club member who will be among the instructors. "Five-year-olds to grandparents can play."
DeFranco said he's seen more and more people take up the sport since he began playing about eight years ago. Disc golf courses can be found these days throughout the Capital Region including such locations as Central Park in Schenectady, Blatnick Park in Niskayuna and Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta, while several others are in the design phase.
"It's becoming very popular," DeFranco said. "We've seen incredible growth."
Spaulding said he has personally seen an uptick in participation at the Saratoga Spa State Park course this summer.
"It is one of those sports where you can socially distance," Spaulding said. "People want to be outdoors and they want to be involved in an activity. That's why we're getting a lot of people. There's been a big increase at the park and with the sport in general."
Spaulding said COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed during the demonstration sessions, and that no more than 50 individuals will be able to attend.
"We are asking all of the participants to bring a mask," he said. "We will be handing out hand sanitizer. At each station we'll limit it to 10 people."
Participants are being asked to bring their own discs, but discs will be available for those who do not have them.
DeFranco said Saturday's event will be perfect for those who are thinking of taking up the sport, but have never actually tried it.
"It's free and you don't have to buy any equipment to join us," he said. "You can show up and see what we're offering."
To secure a spot preregister at https://www.surveymonkey.com/
"After the demonstrations, players are welcome to hit the course," Spaulding said.
More information about the Capital Region Disc Golf Club can be found at www.discap.net.