Gardner disc golf course opens at Bailey Brook Park near pickleball

Bailey Brook Park also offers pickleball courts and a playground

It's time to hit par in the park.

The first nine holes of Gardner's disc golf course at Bailey Brook Park and Conservation Area on Leo Drive are now open to the public.

The course, which will ultimately consist of 18 holes, was designed to appeal to players of all levels of the sport, according to designer Benjamin Tucker.

“The course is ready to play, just keep in mind that the Department of Public Works is still working on it,” said Tucker, who also helped design the Hillside Disc Golf Course in Boylston. “The first nine fairways have been cut out and baskets and tee boxes have been installed.”

Holes one through three are fully completed; DPW crews are currently working on defining the fairways, cleaning the rough and placing wood chips around the baskets on holes four through nine, Tucker added.

Also known as Frisbee golf, this sport involves players throwing a disc at a target. The rules are similar to golf.

The course's first hole, a 315-yard par 3, is designed to give players room to warm up and practice throws before starting a round, explained Tucker, a firefighter with the Gardner Fire Department.

“The area is long enough to throw drivers, but open enough to see if anyone else is using the area,” he said. “It's also a safe place to learn how discs fly, and you can find them easily. Not only is it a great starting hole, but it's also a fantastic practice area.”

Disc golf course receives positive reviews from local players

Tucker said local disc golfers have already played the course and given positive reviews.

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“While I've been training on the course, I've seen children, teenagers, adults and the elderly playing on the course,” he said. “People are getting back into the sport after years because it's close to them and it's free, which they appreciate. Younger children and teenagers have access to the disc golf course and can play basketball afterward. There's a playground for the younger children.”

Tucker estimated that about 300 rounds of disc golf have been played at the course – officially called Bailey Brook DGC – over the past two months, with over 100 rounds logged on the UDISC app, which he said most players use to keep track of their scores. Players post weekly updates on the course's Facebook page, he added.

Lost discs will be dropped off at John's Sport Shop and players will have 90 days to pick them up after notification, according to Tucker.

“After 90 days, the discs will be donated to the Veterans Disc Golf Club of Central Mass. program, which teaches veterans and military personnel how to play disc golf,” Tucker said.

Disc golf is enjoying growing popularity locally

A maintenance road that runs through the field and is designed to allow DPW teams to move through the area with minimal disruption to play is often used as a walking trail, according to Tucker.

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“It's fantastic because it gets people outside and moving, which is great for health,” he said. “I just want to make them aware that the road runs through the course, so watch out for flying discs and watch out for walkers.”

The popularity of disc golf is growing, with Tucker saying the sport is becoming particularly popular in central Massachusetts.

The park also features the city's first public pickleball courts, basketball courts, and a playground for children ages 5 and under.