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Disc golf

Brandon Thorstenson spreads wood chips at one of the pad areas where disc golfers toss their discs at the new nine-hole course being constructed at Tam O'Shanter Park in Kelso.

Kelso’s new disc golf course opens this weekend, giving local players two weeks to practice before the first tournament opens during the Highlander Festival.

Thursday, the Thorstenson family, which owns Interstate Pest Control, Inc., finished installing most of the equipment it’s donating for the disc golf nine-hole course at Tam O’Shanter Park along the base of the Coweeman River dike. The family entered an agreement with the city of Kelso to donate, install and maintain the course to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the pest control company’s founding in 1963.

The Kelso Parks Board and City Council approved the $5,000 project. The low-impact sport, which is non-obtrusive, free and can be played year-round, requires a tee box (a bark dust pit) and a basket for each “hole.”

Disc golf is played by throwing a flying disc (similar to a Frisbee, but smaller) at a target. The goal is to land the disc in the metal basket in the least number of throws.

The sport has grown in popularity since the 1960s, and as of last year, there were 3,762 formal disc golf courses worldwide, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association.

The course, which begins on the park’s western edge by South Kelso Drive, includes a dogleg left, a dogleg right and a hole where players can throw the disc as hard as they can for a hole in one. Players will throw away from the sports fields to avoid discs getting in the way of other park users.

The first tournament will be held from 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, during the annual two-day Highlander Festival at Tam O’ Shanter Park celebrating the city’s Scottish heritage. Registration is free, but space is limited. Prizes will be awarded. To register, send an email to discgolf@interstatepest.com. PDGA discs are required for play.

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