Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Pure Flight Disc Golf opens in Amherst, pledges $3,000 to Orchard Hill course

Pure Flight Disc Golf, a disc golf and ultimate Frisbee store, opened its doors in downtown Amherst this past Wednesday.

A rainbow of color reflects off the 2,000 glossy discs lining the store’s hand-built wooden racks. At the back of the store a wall-mounted LCD TV plays a video of owners Pete Charron, Jeff Fleury and friends shooting a round of disc at the nearby Crane Hill Disc Golf Course while Velvet Underground’s “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” plays in the background.

In the last 30 years disc golf has exploded in popularity. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, courses nationwide numbered 110 in 1980, 494 in 1995 and 2,484 in 2009.

Pending a final walkthrough of the proposed Orchard Hill Disc Golf course on Dec. 13, which will be built within walking distance of the new store, one more course may be added to the list.

For this course, Pure Flight Disc Golf has pledged its full support.

If the course is approved, Pure Flight will donate $3,000 to the course. The donation will cover half the cost of the course’s baskets, the equivalent of holes in traditional golf.

The remaining half will be matched by Innova Disc Golf, the manufacturer of the course’s baskets, according to Charron.

Charron said Pure Flight hopes to capitalize on the business created by the prospective course, as well as introduce events and leagues to the area. Charron said he hopes to field a University of Massachusetts Disc Golf team and a point-based league that would make its rounds on nearby courses like the one near the state hospital in Northampton.

Charron, a former UMass student, discovered disc golf when he was 11-years-old, but didn’t fall in love with the sport until a few years ago.

“After I stopped playing soccer, I started getting really into throwing disc,” Charron said. Charron described the sports immersion in the wilderness experience and the open, friendly community of golfers in the western Mass. area as why he became enamored with the sport.

Upon leaving UMass, Charron started a power washing business but got out after the first year. He still power washes, sometimes driving as far as Boston to  wash buildings overnight. After he catches a few hours sleep at his home in Worcester, he drives back to Amherst to open shop at 9 a.m.

“I’m killing myself to get the store off the ground, but it’s something we believe in so we’re doing what we have to do to make it happen,” Charron said.

In disc golf, courses are laid out like traditional golf courses, but located in thickly wooded areas. The idea of preserving the natural environment is a pervasive one among the sport’s participants.

Golfers toss hard rubber discs, approximately 8 or 9 inches in diameter, through forest clearings towards baskets at the end of the holes. Chains hang down from the top of the baskets, creating metal netting that breaks the disc’s flight, after which the disc drops into the encircling basket.

Pure Flight Disc Golf will host its grand opening this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with food and coffee provided throughout the day. The store is located behind the Loose Goose Café.

Brian Canova can be reached at [email protected].

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    Capt AnhyzerNov 28, 2011 at 10:48 am