What started out as a bunch of friends wanting to play a game at Nichols Park has turned into a 14-year-long labor of love.
Joshua Craig told Henryetta Lions Club the disc golf courses at Nichols is drawing players from all over the area as well as several foreign countries.josh craig
He said he and some friends started with their own disc golf baskets that they would set up around the park then take them home after they were through playing for the day. Those original baskets were left at the park once and were stolen.
Now, after a lot of work and $20,000 provided by the city of Henryetta, the course is taking its final shape.
Craig lived in Dewar but enjoyed Nichols Park so much as a child that he would ride his bike the seven miles to play there. “I moved away and when I came back I would see how the park deteriorated over the year. It broke my heart.”
That’s when he enlisted the help of Jimmy Fish, head of the Union Sportsmen Alliance and made a lot of changes in the park. “When we were finished with all the work, there were 11,000 man hours donated by union members,” he told the Lions Club. That included the donation of over 20 steel charcoal grills produced by apprentice welders.
The work was recognized along with Craig at a national meeting when he received an award for that work.
That desire to help was an offshoot of a project his wife started giving backpacks for students. He explained she has been a head start teacher and saw who parents would use trash bags for their children’s supplies. She purchased some backpacks then that turned into a union project. It grew to Wagoner County donating over 500 backpacks and this past year, 13,000 backpacks were supplied by 17 union locals across the nation.
“One person starts something. That how Nichols started,” he said.
Now that the baskets are in place, concrete tee boxes have been poured and landscaping is going to be done.
Even with the work underway, disc golf enthusiasts have been playing and plans call for a June 1 tournament. Some 130 to 140 players are expected to participate.
Craig said he is in the process of getting flyers with a course map. “Foresight Surveying has helped. They went out on the coldest day of the winter and has recorded the locations of our baskets within one-tenth of an inch of the yardage we marked.
A video production company has used a drone to fly 18 holes of the course and that video is being viewed nearly 500 times on Youtube.
Soon the discs used will be available locally. Jiffy Mart will be selling the discs as well as other equipment for the game.
The sport is rapidly growing in favor both in Oklahoma as well as the nation. A downloadable app, UDisc, shows the location of all disc golf courses across the nation as well as descriptions of them.
Craig explained the game is played much like golf with the goal of getting the disc into the basket in as few throws as possible. That means there are various discs for each need. They are made with different characteristics for long, short or even curving characteristics.
Before the June tournament, Craig said he wants to hold some clinics to introduce the sport to others. “This is a lifelong project for me. I want to take the game I love and introduce it to others.”
To help with that desire, Lions Club members voted to donate $200 toward the purchase of discs to be used during the clinics.


Disc golf tournament coming to Nichols Park

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