Clallam County Parks Board and Port Angeles Disc Golf Association member Roger Hoffman explains the layout of the Rainshadow Disc Golf Course to Clallam County parks tour attendees Wednesday. Hoffman designed the 18-hole disc golf course northeast of Blyn, which is set to open in the early summer. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

New disc golf course near Blyn expected to open early summer

Players will be greeted by sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains from the first tee box when the Rainshadow Disc Golf Course lives up to its name.

Even on cloudy days, the 18-hole Clallam County park off Thompson Road near Blyn will offer an outdoor experience for disc golfers of all skill levels, officials said during a tour of the site in late April.

The long-planned Rainshadow Disc Golf Course is nearly completed and will open to the public in the “early summer,” county Parks, Fair and Facilities Director Joel Winborn said.

“The maintenance crews really have been instrumental in getting this done,” Winborn said.

Roger Hoffman of the Clallam County Parks Board and Port Angeles Disc Golf Association said he had a “blank canvas” when designing the course on the 40-acre county parcel.

The course was built to be challenging enough to attract disc golfers from other regions and “easy enough to be fun for families or beginners, too,” Hoffman said.

“There’s some long holes and some short holes,” Hoffman said before demonstrating a tee shot.

Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, crews will install a guardrail around the parking lot, finish grading and do a final cleanup of the site.

County officials had hoped to open the disc golf course earlier this year.

“Our maintenance people have too many projects going on,” said Bruce Giddens, county parks and fair supervisor.

The Rainshadow Disc Golf Course was built by county parks maintenance staff, chain gang inmate work crews and teams of volunteers.

An Eagle Scout group helped build the main kiosk and Kiwanis Club members helped salvage wood that was cut by volunteers to form the narrow fairways.

Disc golf is played like regular golf but using flying discs instead of golf balls and elevated metal baskets instead of holes. There are no green fees to play disc golf on local courses.

Disc golfers must avoid trees, shrubs and branches as they make consecutive throws from where the previous throw landed. The objective is to navigate the course in as few attempts as possible.

The first nine holes of the Rainshadow Disc Golf Course circle the perimeter of the facility. The back nine zig-zags through the woods in the middle of the property.

All but five of the holes are forested. The open holes, including No. 1, follow the tops of berms.

Clallam County spent $12,778 on signs, baskets, fuel and other materials for the disc golf course in 2015 and 2016, Winborn said.

A combination of volunteers, county staff and park users will handle ongoing maintenance, Winborn has said.

“The holes in the woods tend to be self-maintaining if you get enough people playing it with foot traffic,” Hoffman said.

The North Olympic Peninsula’s other public disc golf courses are at Lincoln Park in Port Angeles, H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum and Tillicum Park in Forks.

Unlike those courses, Rainshadow has considerable elevation change.

Players teeing off on the seventh hole, for example, will be throwing toward a basket about 80 feet below the tee box, Hoffman said.

Kitsap County has about a dozen disc golf courses and players who would likely travel to two-day tournaments at Lincoln Park and Rainshadow, Hoffman said.

“Kitsap is a hot spot,” he added.

The 40-acre Thompson Road site was recently acquired by the parks department to be used specifically for disc golf, Winborn said.

Efforts to build a disc golf course at Robin Hill Farm county park were met with a “rebellion” from equestrians 10 year ago, Winborn recalled.

“Here, we’re not displacing hikers or mushroom hunters or equestrians or any other users,” Hoffman said.

The Thompson Road property was acquired by the county though a tax default, Giddens said.

It was logged in the 1970s and turned over to the Road Department to be used as a gravel pit.

Rock on the property was not suitable for a gravel pit, Giddens said, so the property was used to store material from a dredging project on Jimmycomelately Creek in the early 2000s.

Twenty acres of the property was transferred from the Road Department to the Parks Department in 2013, and the other half was transferred in 2015.

“We had it transferred so that we could construct this as a park,” Giddens said.

Rob Ollikainen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Clallam County Parks Board member Roger Hoffman, right, jokes with, from left, Allegra Pomeroy and Mary Brelsford of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau; Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities Director Joel Winborn; and parks board member James Whitney at the Rainshadow Disc Golf Course on Wednesday. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

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