McALESTER — The grassy parklands between the J.I. Stipe Center and McAlester Regional Health Center have hills and flatlands, trees and ponds, concrete paths and a small amphitheater.
In other words, they’re perfect for a new, 18-hole disc golf course. Construction should begin in mid-August, with the course opening approximately two months later.
“It could be one of the top courses in Oklahoma,” course designer and McAlester High School graduate Matt House said Friday. “There’s a lot of good land to use. The Parks and Recreation Department and the hospital and everyone keep the grass mowed, so it’s ideal. ... It’s got lots of water features and lots of out-of-bounds, so it’ll keep you on your toes.”
Mel Priddy, Community Services Director for the city of McAlester, said he’s wanted to build a disc golf course for several years, but the opening and development of the Eagle Hill Disc Golf Course in Krebs over the last two years pushed him to pursue the idea more aggressively. He met with House, a professional disc golfer and friend of Priddy’s son Grant, around Christmas, and the two began mapping out where to place the concrete tee pads and metal baskets that serve as holes in the disc golf.
The course, which will be built on lands both owned by the hospital and by the city — Priddy said the hospital has already given permission — will encompass the lands between 8th Street and Strong Boulevard and between Monroe Avenue and Polk Avenue. It will be free for public use, with different baskets placed at each hole to allow for both novice and advanced players.
Priddy and House also intend for it to become a regular location for Professional Disc Golf Association tournaments.
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