Pawhuska is a growing destination community and shopping is arguably its signature drawing card, but not everyone wants to shop. So what else is there to do?
Well, Pawhuska is now a city of a little under 3,500 people with five disc golf courses, the most recent addition being the grand opening last Saturday of an 18-hole disc course at the Pawhuska Golf & Country Club, located at 471 South Farrell Ave. The disc course there co-exists with a nine-hole regular golf course.
More than 40 people participated in a grand-opening tournament Saturday on the new disc course, which was designed by Avery Jenkins, a former disc golf world champion who is originally from Ohio but now calls Pawhuska home. He met his wife, Leah Taylor Jenkins, at a disc golf event at Taylor Ranch.
Avery Jenkins, who turns 41 this month, has been playing disc golf since he was six years old. He comes from a family of multiple disc golf world champions (his mother and sister have won several world championships apiece), and he’s been designing courses for about five years.
The sport is played in close to 60 countries and Jenkins has personally played it in 22 countries. Last week he played on his 1,135th different course, making him just one of 10 people to have played more than 1,000 courses each. Jenkins explains he enjoys playing lots of different courses to find out how players from different areas experience the game. As a designer he tries to work natural elements of the landscape into the courses that he creates.
“When I lay a course out like this, I want to make it accommodating for every skill level,” Jenkins said. “I wanted to create something where people could come out here and enjoy it from the first time.”
The idea is that you shouldn’t have to really know what you’re doing to have a good time, but as you get to know the game, the enjoyment can grow.
Disc golf has been on the rise for about 40-45 years. The first formal course was established in 1975 in Pasadena, Calif. There are now some 7,500 courses worldwide.
Jenkins noted that disc golf is scored in basically the same way as regular golf. There are “birdies” and “pars” and “bogies.” As a course designer, he said that he believes in making it possible for players to score at least some “birdies,” so that they experience the fun of the game.
The opportunity Jenkins has enjoyed to design the new course at the Pawhuska Golf & Country Club came to his attention based on a casual conversation one day between Mark Frye and John Long.
Frye is perhaps best known around Pawhuska as a teacher at Pawhuska High School and coach of the schools boys and girls track teams. The boys won a state 2A title last spring and the girls were state 2A runners up for the second year in a row. Long, who owns Pawhuska Golf & Country Club, is also a Pawhuska high school coach. And Frye recalled that Long asked him one day at the coaching office what it might take to get a disc golf course put in at the country club.
Frye, who is a disc golf enthusiast and the designer of an 18-hole disc golf course at Pawhuska’s Williams Park, said a phone call would probably do it. It actually took two phone calls, but the connection came together quickly.
Frye is an able promoter of the disc game. He explained he has developed a PowerPoint presentation about disc golf that he has used in giving talks to local groups. He said the Pawhuska-area disc golf community hopes to gradually build up the numbers of people interested in playing.
“They are kind of the most giving people I’ve ever met in my life,” Frye said, commenting on the generous, supportive character of the disc golf community.
For more information about playing at the Pawhuska Golf & Country Club, contact the club by telephone at 918-287-1695.