Updated: Aug 30, 2020
By Michele RobertsonOur lovely town has so much to offer in the outdoor recreation department. Parks line the riverbanks for families to gather in the plentiful sunshine and a little-known gem, the Carlsbad Disc Golf course,offers beautiful views of the river. The Carlsbad Disc Golf course is situated near the Lower Tansil dam and meanders through the Bataan Recreation Area. The course was opened in 2009, and has grown from a 12 hole to an 18 hole course. There are three water hazards, holes 4, 14, and 16 as well as one par 4, hole 7. The course features concrete pads and discatcher holes. Each tee has two pads to play from, recreational and advanced. Recreational pads have a total of 5,720 feet of distance to throw, and advanced pads have a total of 7,188 feet. Albert Ornelas, tournament director for the Carlsbad Riverbangers Disc Golf Club has been playing the course since 2009, and hosted his first tournament in 2010. A casual conversation between friends introduced Ornelas to disc golf and has led to over a decade of him working with the city to improve and maintain the course.Updates to the course over the past several years include more trees, expanding the course with both recreational and advanced pads. Additional updates that would be beneficial to the course include canopies for shade during the summer, and lights to play at night. “We’ve played tournaments in cold, 32°F temperatures and scorching 112°F temps,” Ornelas said. Having lights on part of the course would allow players to throw later during the winter months. Ornelas has helped other communities establish courses and clubs. Local disc golf club information can be found on Facebook, the Carlsbad Riverbangers Disc Golf club and Carlsbad NM Disc Golf are local groups you can join. A lot of visitors and travelers who play, plan their trips around being able to stop at courses along the way. Carlsbad is along many of those routes of travel. The Facebook group pages are a way for information to be sent out,as well as to receive feedback. Based on feedback from players on improvements that could be made, a dozen trees have been added over the past five years. Ornelas shared that approximately 2,400 players visit the course annually. With 3.5 miles of walking through the course, it makes a great way to get outside and exercise. Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports with many health benefits. It is a great family sport, you are outside getting fresh air, stress levels can be reduced by being in nature, better sleep, boosted energy and mood, working on strategy and thinking skills, building your self confidence, test and practice patience, and one of the best benefits, you can make new friends. “The disc golf community is like none other” Ornelas said, “I made a best friend by returning a disc of his I had found, months after finding it.” He adds, “The camaraderie is strong everywhere, the bigger the disc golf community, the more friends you make.”“New players are always welcome, everyone helps oneanother,” he said. This writer can personally attest to this statement. I have approached a group and asked if I could join more than once, and was always welcome and while playing area courses the local disc golfers have always been friendly and helpful.
The unwritten rule in disc golf is, whoever has the most fun wins,” shared Ornelas. Disc golf has its own rules on rulings, the premise is very similar to golf, you drive, approach, and putt. Mostly you want to stay in bounds, keep it on the fairway, and have fun playing.