It’s late Monday afternoon shortly before 5 p.m. and the members of the Chavez Ridge Disc Golf Club have once again gathered in Elysian Park to play another round of their favorite sport. They unpack cases packed with neon-colored assortments of discs (don’t call them Frisbees, a trademark brand name), carefully position themselves on rubber, skid-proof mats and then fling the discs through a forest of eucalyptus trees in one of the few disc golf courses in Los Angeles. The goal is to get the discs to land in metal baskets that are the equivalent of golf holes.
The 18-hole Chavez Ridge Disc Golf Course, located north of Dodger Stadium and above Solano Canyon, has a reputation as a tough course, where trees and steep hillsides pose challenges for even the most experienced players. “The disc will hit something and then roll down the hill 300 feet,” said club organizer and Eagle Rock resident Steven Valencia. In fact, Los Angeles area players have a phrase to describe this mishap common to the Elysian Park course: “You got Chavezed!”
Still, that does not keep members of the club and others from showing up on Mondays at 5 p.m. for a doubles game.
Disc golf players had originally wanted a course located lower down the hill to provide for wider fairways. But after spending seven years negotiating with the Recreation and Parks department as well as neighborhood groups, disc golfers settled for the current location, which opened in 2006. Club members tout Chavez Ridge’s central location – the nearest other courses are in La Canada-Flintridge, La Mirada and Sylmar – and panoramic views. The 18th hole basket – partially painted a shade of Dodger Blue – overlooks Dodger Stadium and the downtown skyline.
The Elysian Park course’s central location makes it easy for some of the Chavez Ridge Club members to squeeze in some playing time after work. Despite their passion for their sport and the hilly course, some of the players concede friends and families have a hard time understanding their interest in disc golf. “The usual response is ‘What is that?'” said Brandon Valverde of Glassell Park .