On a hot summer day, what would be better than playing disc golf with friends on top of a mountain with wicked views?
Jake Kenealy, summer recreations services program and rental shops manager at Sugarbush Resort, recently offered a guided tour of the 18-hole course to showcase some of the best views The Valley has to offer.
The Sugarbush disc golf course was created in 2007 and designed by Steve Brinster and Dan Doyle. The total length for the 18-hole course is 4,305 feet from the white tees and 5,567 from the blue tees. The difference in colored starting tees is for beginners versus more experienced Frisbee golfers.
Disc golf is similar to regular golf as individuals navigate their way through a course trying to sink their disc into a metal-chained target with the least amount of throws. This is similar to regular golf, but instead of hitting an object one throws a disc. There are different styles of throwing discs, similar to a variety of golf clubs: distance drivers, fairway drivers, midranges and putters.
According to Kenealy, the course brought in over 350 paid visitors last year and is projected to steadily rise as the game's popularity grows. Summer recreation is one thing that resorts, and The Valley in general, are trying to improve upon to entice more visitors.
Kenealy, who has been working at Sugarbush for six and a half years, said his favorite part of working at the resort and specifically on the course is working with the people and being outside.
“It’s great to introduce the game to new people and see them really fall in love with it! It is an affordable healthy option to getting exercise in the woods,” said Kenealy.
There are other Frisbee golf courses in the surrounding communities. One of the oldest, Center Chains, is in Waterbury Center and there are some in Randolph. Resorts around Vermont and New England have been picking up the sport as it has made its way east. Kenealy joked that the game went from being a sport seen only for hippies to becoming something for all ages and demographics to enjoy.
In recent years disc golf has become an outdoor recreational activity that appeals to all ages. It starts in the spring and goes until the first snow or later, depending on how adventurous one is and the course rules. Kenealy added that leagues come to play on the Sugarbush course weekly and enjoy the course’s topography and atmosphere.
“The Sugarbush course has a good mix of open tee shots and tight tee shots. It is set in beautiful terrain with lots of elevation in play. There are a lot of big shots that have par set at four and five so you really get a chance to rip a disc or practice your shot. There are some really well-designed short holes as well to challenge your touch shots,” said Kenealy.
When asked if Sugarbush holds tournaments or disc golfing events, Kenealy said they had some events and others in the works. “We hosted a Disc Golf Ace Race last fall and are hoping to hold another event this fall.”
Walking through the 18-hole course, individuals can expect mountainous terrain and amazing views. Upon coming to hole 17, one can overlook the entire Sugarbush base area and into the entirety of The Valley below.
Passes are available for the day or season and for lift-served and walkers. Additional summer activities at Sugarbush include resort golf, downhill biking, a bike park, bungee trampoline, scenic lift rides, a zipline and hiking.