A 10-person crew installed baskets and leveled out tee pads July 28-29 to open a nine-hole disc golf course at the base of Kendall Mountain Ski Area in Silverton. Since it opened, the town’s first course has attracted a near-continuous flow of discs flying through the air from morning to evening.
Kendall Mountain Disc Golf Course is free and open to all, located at 1 Kendall Place in Silverton. It offers nine challenging holes that start at Kendall Mountain Community Center. Hole Nos. 1-6 bring the player around the base of the ski area toward the river; hole Nos. 7-8 climb uphill; and No. 9 is a downhill throw back to the base area.
The course was built by volunteers and features maps of each basket placement at designated tee pads, which are dug out and lined with rocks.
Disc golf is played and scored the same as golf, but the object is to throw a disc into a metal basket instead of hitting a ball into a hole. The goal is to finish a round in as few shots as possible. The first eight holes in Silverton range from 195 to 393 feet and are all par-3, which means a player has to land their disc in the basket in three shots to maintain an even score, or par. No. 9 is a long, 616-foot par-4 and brings the player back to the start.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Silverton course is throwing at 9,500 feet, which feels a little different – discs become more stable in thinner air and, considering the course is at the base of a ski area, the change in elevation from hole to hole is more pronounced.
“I like the height; starting flat, then going uphill, then coming back down. I like the short-hole, long-hole variance,” said Wes Warren, a Durango resident and Team Latitude 64 player. “It makes a course that you have to test your game versus throwing a flat park. And with unbeatable views ... the town of Silverton and Kendall Mountain both next to you ... it makes you feel like you’re right in town.”
Mike Grasse, who lives in Silverton and manages Acme Healing Center locations across the Western Slope, designed the course and organized the project. He started throwing disc golf in 1989 and has wanted to find a way to offer the sport in Silverton.
“I’ve been trying to get disc golf here for like nine-plus years,” Grasse said. “One of my ideas was to go to businesses in Silverton for support. I run a business and we like to sponsor events in the community.”
Grasse initially reached out to Todd Bove, the town of Silverton facilities, parks and recreation director, about how to put the idea into motion. Bove said he agreed it was a perfect fit for the mountain community.
“To be honest, the entire process came together quite organically,” Bove said. “We designed a course layout and began talking with local businesses about sponsorship opportunities. The support from local business owners was overwhelming.”
More than $5,000 was raised in just a few hours, Bove said, and donations from businesses funded the cost of nine baskets and signs at the tee pads, which was roughly $540 for each hole.
The town of Silverton organized and held a volunteer work day and provided fundraising efforts, cement for each basket and staff support during installations.
“We ended up getting 11 businesses to sponsor nine holes, and the town of Silverton helped with the rest,” Grasse said.
Holes sponsorships include, in order of hole, Silverton Hardware, Fetch’s Mining and Mercantile and ReSoul’d Thrift Shop, Avalanche Brewing Co., Coffee Bear and Columbine Roadhouse, Acme Healing Center, Silverton Mountain, Spruce Electric, Pedal the Peaks and Avon Hotel, and Golden Block Brewery.
“It was truly a great example of local business, local government and community members working together to achieve a common goal,” Bove said. “Being able to offer our residents healthy, free, family-friendly recreation opportunities is always a top priority for the town of Silverton. Disc golf is a fun activity for all ages and is a great way to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty the San Juan Mountains have to offer.”
Relaxing, challenging or both – the high-alpine disc golf course will put any player’s skills to the test. Improvements and updates are underway, and Grasse added that the goal is to collect additional funding and sponsors for a full 18-hole course next year.
It seems that disc golfers in the area have more to look forward to in Silverton’s blossoming scene.