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Golfing the disc way

Everett turns underused park land into course

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By Ahmed Fawzi
Herald Writer
  • Jim Farnam plays a round of disc golf on the course at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett.

    Michael O’Leary / The Herald

    Jim Farnam plays a round of disc golf on the course at Thornton A. Sullivan Park in Everett.

  • Disc golf players throw discs into baskets.

    Disc golf players throw discs into baskets.

EVERETT — You don’t need a ball, a heavy bag of clubs or a lot of money to play golf anymore. You just need your flying discs and the free, new course at Silver Lake.
The Thornton A. Sullivan Park’s disc golf course opened a month ago and attracts about 50 disc golfers and beginners every day.
Design engineer Jim Farnam,50, works close to the park. He plays disc golf twice a week during his lunch breaks.
Farnam started to play this game six months ago in West Seattle.
“It’s a challenging game, and we need to have more courses here,” he said. “I come and play with my two grown sons Mike and Zach every few weeks.”
Everett Parks and Recreation department spent $7,000 to open up an underused portion of the park. The course also provides an activity for an older age group — teens and up — that was under-represented at the park, said Bob Hillmann, project coordinator.
The nine-hole course includes refurbished baskets and pads. In addition to the fixed equipment, there are portable baskets available for the day camps.
It’s also accessible, following along paved trails.
The game has the same structure and thrills as traditional golf, but players instead throw their discs at the baskets.
Prior to the installation of the disc golf course, the property was used as a recreational vehicle park. The course fits in well with the park's natural setting, with mature evergreen trees and outstanding views of Silver Lake and the Cascade Range.
Planning for the course took place at the beginning of the year. Local disc golf enthusiast Shawn Hadley helped design the course and provide recommendations for equipment, Hillmann said. Most of the construction was completed on a Sunday in May with the help of 21 volunteers from the disc golf community.
The city helps connect anyone who wants to try disc golf with volunteers who are happy to teach their sport, said Euan Robertson, recreation supervisor.
Disc golf began in the 1960s with “Steady” Ed Headrick, known as the father of disc golf and modern day disc sports, according to the Disc Golf Association.
Today, as in the beginning, the game remains inexpensive and anyone can play.
“If I buy three discs with 20 dollars, I can play it 24 hours a day every day,” Hadley said, “It doesn’t matter what your size or your age is.”
It’s also grown so much, top players can actually win some good money.
“Some of the guys made about $30,000 last year from the tournaments,” Hadley said. “Another guy did $1,700 in three days only in last few weeks in Tacoma.”

Ahmed Fawzi: 425-339-3449,
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