The Miami Disc Golf Association (MDGA) recently installed an 18-hole championship disc golf course at the Palmetto Bay Village Center in hopes the fast growing sport will continue to catch on in the community.
Similar to golf, the game involves throwing a Frisbee-like flying disc into a basket from approximately 230 feet away on an average. Scores are based on the number of shots made into the basket. An 18-hole course generally is around two to three miles long with varied topography and “hazards” spread out about the fairway to challenge players.
MDGA president George Alvarez founded the not-for-profit organization in 2011 and has since set up baskets in locations like Fuchs Park and Bethem Community Center, but the Palmetto Bay course is the largest so far.
“It is a great sport for anyone in any shape and any age,” Alvarez said. “With the exception of the purchase of the discs the game is free so it is an economical sport for families and the baskets generally last up to 20 years. It is also a great way to stay in shape as one round [18 holes] is generally about two to three miles.”
The appeal of getting back to nature and spending the day outdoors seems to have contributed to the growth of a sport that has been around in various incarnations since the 1960s. In the past decade, disc golf has more than doubled in popularity and is played in over 40 countries worldwide according to the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) based out of Atlanta, GA.
“When I lived in Charlotte, NC, there were only three courses. Now they have up to 33. The sport has exploded and we are hoping to do the same thing for Miami,” Alvarez said.
The MDGA team has been around the community visiting nursing homes, the YMCA, Special Olympics, and other organizations to teach interested players and educate the public on the benefits of disc golf.
Although the Palmetto Bay Village Center course opened a month ago, they still are in the installation stage. Funds are being raised to pay for baskets and keypads for scoring. To raise money for the course a “Miami Vivo” social will take place at the Palmetto Bay Village Center on July 26. Restaurants, retailers, and health-centered businesses will have booths and local music will be provided by “Van Gogh Listens” and DJ “Vibe.” The event is free to the public with prices ranging from $5 to $10 for food and drinks at each station.
To find out more about the Miami Disc Golf Association and “Miami Vivo” fundraising events contact MDGA president George Alvarez at 786-457-6214 or send email to Mdga1313@gmail.com.