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A Pinellas County park in Largo comprises an 18-hole disc golf course

Between them, they've got 150 flying discs: putters, drivers and even ones that float. Pat and Lee Armstrong, avid disc golfers, have played through wooded fairways across North America, including Oregon, Montana and Quebec.

"But Taylor Park's course is our favorite,'' said Pat Armstrong. "It's home and it's beautiful.''

Along with her husband, the 67-year-old visits the 18-hole course, on the west side of Taylor Lake, frequently. As with traditional golf, they maneuver the course tossing colorful flying discs while attempting to make it into each "hole'' with the fewest number of throws. In this case, the holes are above-ground metal baskets.

"We try to go to the park every day. Even after church on Sunday,'' said Armstrong, who played for the first time 15 years ago in Peru, Ind. "We found the course while we were camping.''

On 13.9 acres at Taylor Park, the course is found among oak and pine trees, a playground, picnic pavilions and Taylor Lake, known as a frequent gathering spot for alligators.

But the reptiles don't bother the Armstrongs.

Last summer, they traveled out West, scouting out disc golf courses along the way. Some courses were better than others. Some warned visitors of danger.

"We visited courses with signs telling players to wear long pants and boots," she said. "The signs said watch out for rattlesnakes. Now that was scary.''

Although there are about a dozen courses available for public use in the Tampa Bay area, Taylor Park is the only one of its kind inside a Pinellas County park, said Pam Traas, Group 2 park supervisor for the county.

Since it opened in January 2004, countless players, both novice and experienced, have played the disc course. It is free and open during daylight hours.

"It's been open for a little over five years, and a day doesn't go by that we don't see two or three groups of players out there. It's been a lot of fun,'' Traas said.

Traas does, however, have words of caution for the uninitiated.

Regarding wayward discs, don't wade in the lake. "Don't do it. For everyone's safety, we have signs posted, and we do not allow swimming. However, I've realized that players are very resourceful. They use hooks or launch boats to retrieve the discs instead.''

Do you have an idea for Largo Explorer? You can reach Piper Castillo at (727) 445-4163 or pcastillo@sptimes.com

By the numbers

1 Number of disc golf courses located in a Pinellas County park (Taylor Park)

12 Number of disc golf courses available to the public in the region, according to the Tampa Bay Disc Sports Club Web site.

276 Number of members in the Tampa Bay Disc Sports Club.

156.5 Number of acres inside Taylor Park

13.9 Number of acres of Taylor Park's disc golf course.

fast facts

To learn more

For more information on disc golf, visit:

• The Professional Disc Golf Association: www.pdga.com

• Tampa Bay Disc Sports Club: www.tampabaydiscsportsclub.com

A Pinellas County park in Largo comprises an 18-hole disc golf course 04/04/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 4, 2009 1:27pm]
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