Disc golf will come to Westchester County, according to County Executive George Latimer, but it won’t be located in the Saxon Woods area, which features a golf course, trails and a pool complex in Scarsdale and White Plains.
Disc golf, which for serious players is played over 18 holes, requires a flying disc in place of a ball and clubs, and players vie in the fewest number of throws to get the disc into a target area that is typically a wire basket or made of metal chains.
During a press conference April 19, Latimer addressed what he called “inaccurate” information in both a podcast made by disc golf supporters and a flier made by an anonymous anti-disc golf individual or group. He said, among the misinformation, there was no backdoor deal involved and no plan to clear-cut trees.
In 2019, the Westchester County Board of Legislators allotted $40,000 for disc golf in the 2020 budget. Latimer said the process was done out in the open, a “matter of public record at the time.” He added, “There was no particular debate over it, no particular controversy over it.” Latimer said the county parks department was tasked with analyzing the sport and potential sites among the 55 county parks. Many were never considered as they are “dedicated passive parks,” nature preserves, swamps area, pools, golf courses or beaches.
Latimer said the first recommendation was to have a design firm submit a potential plan for the southern area of Saxon Woods. Latimer said he did not receive that plan until Friday, April 16, which was well after the misinformation was beginning to spread.
“I saw the designer’s proposal last Friday and I thought it was obtrusive for the area set aside and after talking to senior management … and the leadership of the parks department, I have told them to cease efforts to try to place this in Saxon Woods, that the area set aside for this in my judgment would not properly accommodate the 18 holes that disc golf wants and that we should resurvey the other sites that we have in the county as a possible home for disc golf, but not Saxon Woods,” Latimer said.
Finding the right spot could be challenging as it requires about 1 to 2 acres per hole, according to dynamicdiscs.com.
“You do need a lot of land to do this sport, to do it properly,” Latimer said. “We want to be sure we have sufficient land to do that in a way that doesn’t interrupt with other existing uses at the facility. We have a lot of land, we have a lot of acreage, so we’ll see just how we can do that.”
Latimer noted that there is a course at the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown, and that the county will consult with the state and other resources to bring disc golf to Westchester.
“For those of you who want disc golf, understand that I believe it is a valid recreation and that it can be part of our county mix, so what we’re going to do is survey other locations to determine where disc golf would work, perhaps better,” he said. “And rather than talk about something that’s still in an analysis process, when and if we have a proposed location for it and how it will be laid out, we will then publicly announce it.”