SILT — A local resident who has built several disc golf courses in Garfield County has won the blessing of the town government here to build one in his current home town.
TJ Lawrence, who works at Gran Farnum Printing in Glenwood Springs and has lived in Silt for more than 10 years, already has laid out the basic course on a patch of mostly publicly owned hills and gullies adjacent to the Stoney Ridge Pavilion concert stage at the northern edge of town.
At the most recent trustees meeting, on Aug. 26, however, Lawrence told the trustees that he had accidentally crossed parts of privately owned land with his initial design, and sought town help to get permission from the landowner or landowners involved.
The trustees were not prepared to help in that way, directing him to redesign the course to keep it off private property, but they appeared intrigued by the proposal in general.
“It’s addicting, just as in ball golf,” Lawrence told the trustees, adding that there are an estimated 200 or so disc golf courses in Colorado, and more than 3,000 in the U.S.
“It happens all over the world,” Lawrence enthused. “It’s a sport that’s played year-round, regardless of what the weather is.
He maintained that a course in Silt would attract players from around the region, including tourists and business people traveling for their jobs and looking for places to recreate.
In addition, he said, local businesses could stock disc golf equipment and paraphernalia, which he claimed had been a boon to a store in Glenwood Springs.
Shawn McDonald, an employee at the Factory Outdoors store (formerly Factory Surplus), backed up Lawrence’s claim.
“That has doubled, if not tripled in size,” McDonald said, adding that the store keeps a considerable stock of disc golf gear in stock.
“We get a couple of people a day coming in and asking about discs,” he remarked.
At the Silt trustees meeting, Lawrence estimated it would cost $4,000 to $8,000 to set up a complete, 18-hole course, remarking, “For a small investment, the town of Silt would benefit tenfold.” He said players would do the work of building the course, and would be responsible for regular maintenance matters.
The trustees indicated they were in favor of the idea.
“I like the sound of the game,” said Trustee Sonny Fernandez, seeming pleased when Lawrence told him the baskets at which players hurl the discs are designed to be removable to avoid conflicts with scheduled events at what are often publicly owned courses.”
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” seconded Trustee Bryan Fleming, adding that he would support Lawrence’s proposal as long as the private-property conflicts were resolved.
Trustee Rick Aluise agreed, and proposed that the town try to find the funding to pay for the project, rather than seeking grants, as Lawrence suggested.
“The one thing I wouldn’t want to do is sit around and wait to see if we get grants,” Aluise said.
Town attorney Mike Sawyer said the state has enacted “liability protections” that extend to private property owners who permit public recreational activities on their property, if the course design does end up crossing private land.
And Town Administrator Pamela Woods told the trustees that the town’s lease of the Stoney Ridge Pavilion property, which is owned by the Garfield School District, would permit this type of use as it is drawn up.
The trustees agreed to continue discussing the idea, and directed staff to assist Lawrence in determining how to create a course that does not cross private property.