Beneath the golden-beige hue of an autumn evening beginning to fall in Clarkfield, four spinning discs careen in succession following wildly divergent paths to a common goal painted road construction orange in North Park.
A pair of young Clarkfield couples, friends, track down the discs to fling them again—once, twice ("Watch out!"), a third time ("Sorry, didn't mean to almost hit ya"), or maybe a fourth-fifth time (no one's really counting)—in an impromptu set-up for the camera as they display Clarkfield's latest recreation: Disc Golf.
Preschooler Allison Isaacs is coaxed into the mix once the adults have rattled the chains on hole five beneath the shade and spreading fall colors between the steel slide and swing sets, kitty-corner from the back corner of the Clarkfield pool.
Allison has been more occupied with the playground and a pair of strollered babies, before the parents had walked out to tee it up for hole five, she'd already made her declaration; preferring the slide to throwing a frisbee some fifty yards to that road cone-colored, chain-draped basket. But when the spotlight shines on her, she doesn't disappoint and from eight feet, then five, then three—she flicks a blue disc at the chains until it rattles home and she throws her arms up in triumph.
"We've come out here so much that Allison already makes plans for what she wants to do while we're out playing the course," says mother Krista Isaacs, who sparked the Disc Golf course's creation.
The course has been up for just over a month now, with nine holes criss-crossing North Park at the north end of Clarkfield. Tee box signs have been added recently, and prior to this fall's harvest the Isaacs, Krista and Adam, say the course saw heavy use. Says Krista, "One of the first nights we came out here there were five different groups going around the course. It was awesome to see."
The sport of disc golf seems to be sweeping the local country side with courses planned, or recently erected, in Granite Falls, Montevideo, Dawson, Canby.
Like that futon in your basement, the game was picked up in college, has been dragged back home, dusted off and set-up again—ready and waiting for friends and company.
Krista, who started the process of getting Clarkfield's course built just over a year ago, described the project: "We got it approved by the city council, then we started looking into the targets. Miller's (Equipment and Manufacturing of Clarkfield) made the targets, then they were painted by Todd Tennis. So, it was an all Clarkfield project. I worked with Scott Weske (Clarkfield City Administrator) on financing the project and in doing that we received funding from the Lion's Foundation ($1000) and the Clarkfield Area Community Foundation ($500). We used google maps to lay out the course and the city guys (with the Clarkfield Public Works Department) put up the targets. They were a huge help."
Page 2 of 2 - The Isaacs are part of a slug of young families that have recently set down roots in the Heart of the Prairie. In just a short time, those families have been defined by a strong sense of community involvement.
Case in point is the horse shoe pit, also at North Park, whose creation was organized by Adam Isaacs and the recent push by Katie Zuraff to renovate the North Park playground.
Krista calls the Disc Golf project her "baby" and still worries that hole one (the longest hole on the course) is too difficult and might discourage first time players. But still she laughs. She and Adam rattle off the courses dimensions (it's a par 28 by their estimations) and mention that they're working with Hardware Hank and J&S One Stop in town to carry all the gear, like discs, needed for the straight forward game.
"It's something different for people," says Krista. "And it's a great way for families and friends to get outside and have a good time. This is a great park. Everything's free, It's perfect for families. This is just one more thing for the city."