Pere Marquette Park will host a Professional Disc Golf Association [PDGA]-santioned disc golf tournament in August.
The Ste. Genevieve Parks and Recreation Board voted to allow Tim Wiegard to put the tournament on during its monthly meeting on June 23.
Wiegard said he has been playing disc golf since 2002 and has taken part in PDGA-sanctioned events since 2007.
He said he decided to see about trying to put one on after playing the newly expanded 18-hole course at Pere Marquette and talking to local disc golf booster Steve Hoog.
Wiegard said that city clerk Pam Meyer had directed him to get park board approval when he informed her that the event could include up to 90 participants.
Board member Gerry Schwent asked what Wiegard needed. He said having grass freshly cut would be nice, but not necessary.
He is looking at Saturday, August 22, as his preferred date.
Asked about divisions, Wiegard said that there are Professional [Pro], Age-Protected Pro, Women’s Pro, Amateur [Am], Age-Protected Am and Women’s Am.
“The PDGA really plays to all skill levels and all genders,” Wiegard said.
Board member Lauren Smothers asked whether everyone would be on the course at once, or if it would be staggered.
“Everybody starts, five people on [hole] one and five people on every hole through 18. You play one round and you have a lunch.”
He noted that the lunch break would benefit local restaurants.
Play then continues and a “pay-out ceremony” with awards and cash prizes is usually held, he said.
“Which right now, we’re kind of pushing away from,” Wiegard said. “But you can still do them, you just have to enforce social distancing.”
The cash payouts come from the $50 fee participants will be charged.
Board members asked Wiegard several questions. He said rain will not stop disc golf tournaments. Only lightning can. Play must be halted for 30 minutes following each lightning strike, he said.
“Flow-wise,” he said he didn’t think there would be a social distancing issue with having up to 90 people around the course.
He said the tournament would probably start at 9 a.m., with a lunch break around 11 or 11:30 a.m., then run from about 12:30 p.m. until completed. That could be as late as 6 p.m., he said.
Smothers asked if the organizers and participants would clean up after themselves. Wiegard said they definitely would. He also said that PDGA rules do not allow natural terrain to be damaged or permanently impacted by the sport.
He said he wouldn’t need to be setting up tents. Merchandise will be available in a truck in the parking lot, while the nearest pavilion should be plenty of shelter, Wiegard said.
He said there will be sponsors for each hole – usually $20 per hole.
“Guys, one of the reasons we made the investments, the park board and the local golfers, with getting the right type of baskets and pad and all that, was so we could host these kinds of tournaments,” chairman John Conard said, “bring people to the park, get people in the park that never would have done it otherwise.
“It’s a pretty nice course, with some nice woods holes and open fields.”
The idea of the park board helping build the disc golf course into a professional-level course got its impetus in February 2017 when Hoog attended a meeting and discussed the course’s potential.
As time has gone on, the board has contributed $700 to go with a $2,000 grant Hoog obtained in 2018 to replace all 18 baskets with professional-grade baskets and gave $1,700 last summer for 14 concrete tee pads after two disc golfers found a Perryville contractor to contribute the labor free.
“Like you said a while ago,” Schwent said later. “This is why you started.”
The board unanimously approved the tournament.
During field operations supervisor Gary Roth’s report, he said that the recently-obtained Little Tikes playground equipment was “90 percent complete” in Dave Pinkley Memorial Park.
It was noted that the park on LayHaye Street, named for Roth’s predecessor, who died suddenly in January 2017, has never been formally dedicated.
It was agreed that a dedication ceremony will be held later this year – after the equipment is completely set up.
Roth also reported that the idea of adding fish to the pond in Pere Marquette Park would not work, due to water depth fluctuations. However, a “pier” of sorts, of riprap could be extended into the ponds, with dirt and grass added on top of it. Board member Samer Zoughaib wondered if the Missouri Department of Conservation would be willing to do a casting promotion, with children learning how to cast with fishing reels, with a free pole given to each one.