Disc golfer plays two courses here in trekLarry Kirk stopped in Jamestown Monday to take in most of the city’s 45 holes of disc golf. Kirk, of California, has played in all 50 states before, but for his second time he wants to make it to all 50 in one year.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
By Ben Rodgers
The Jamestown Sun
Larry Kirk stopped in Jamestown Monday to take in most of the city’s 45 holes of disc golf.
Kirk, of California, has played in all 50 states before, but for his second time he wants to make it to all 50 in one year.
Disc golf, or Frisbee golf, involves throwing a number of specially designed discs into chain-link baskets. Unlike normal golf, most courses don’t require green fees and all that’s needed is one disc.
Kirk, a technical sergeant with the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard for 30 years, has put 11,000 miles on his Honda Civic since he started in February.
Kirk threw in 20 states from February to May, and in June hopped a flight to play in Alaska.
North Dakota is No. 45 this time around. Still remaining are Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.
“It just has brought so much fun for me — basically I like throwing things,” Kirk said before starting his round at Klaus Park. “I come out here; I climb trees and jump logs.”
He played all 18 holes there.
The journey for Kirk started in 2002 while following his daughter Lois’s softball team. Kirk played four states on the route.
In 2008 he went to the disc golf world championships in Knoxville, Tenn., where he started collecting former world champions’ signatures on the back of a driver disc.
The drive to collect world champions’ autographs led him through different states and multiple courses. After starting in 2002, he completed his first circuit of all 50 states in 2010.
“I’m trying to be a positive image. I want to elevate the game to a higher awareness,” the 51-year-old Kirk said. “I think the game is in a stalemate right now and I want to elevate the game.”
Kirk said he is disappointed with the notion that some people have about those who play disc golf: drug users and abusers.
“You don’t need to be high on anything — you can be high on disc golf,” Kirk said.
For him playing a new course and meeting new people while sharing a round is a rush all in itself.
“As soon as I drive up and see a basket I’m finding happiness,” Kirk said. “A happiness just comes over me, trees, hills, elevation. It’s just like a big kid in a candy factory when you have a course that’s laid out with elevation and hills.”
He’s played some pretty scenic places too. Fountain Hills Park in Fountain Hills, Ariz., has a 300-foot fountain in the middle of a man-made lake that goes off every 15 minutes. There are 18 holes around the lake.
Kincaid Park, in Anchorage, Alaska, has changing elevation in a heavily wooded park, where players need to keep a watchful eye for moose and bears.
“You’re in a park, you’re walking, you’re throwing something, give it a shot,” Kirk said about playing the game. “One time might not catch you but if you get good enough where you can bomb it (the drive) and get it out there that may catch you.”
He also enjoys playing with the people he meets, who he says are a friendly bunch. Kirk plays to beat the course — generally on recreational courses each hole is considered a par 3 — and not against the people who let him play along.
Kirk set off in February for his second time around the nation with the blessing of his children, Lois, 25, Larry Jr., 24, and Christopher, 22.
“I got the verbal OK from them. ‘Dad we love you. Go play disc golf,’” Kirk said.
He said he felt the need to stop in Jamestown after a disc golfer he was playing with in Fargo told him about the island disc golf course, generally thought by players to be the toughest in a four-state region.
The island, located on Jamestown Reservoir, opened in 2007 and features 27 holes, with six crossing over water.
Kirk had time for 18 holes and said he felt pretty confident after his round.
“As far as disc golf courses, only one hole seemed unfair for a regular person,” he said. “I loved it, I loved the course.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by email at email@example.com