Learn the History of the Willamette Disc Golf Course

Amid the outdoor recreation opportunities in the Corvallis area, disc golf is one in particular that has continued in popularity since the Willamette Park course was established as part of the Professional Disc Golf Association in 1999. The rich, local history of the sport since then has made Corvallis a hub for disc golf enthusiasts who might want to share the same field as the pioneers who helped popularize the sport.

In the year 2000, Corvallis native Nathan Sexton began playing at Willamette Park at the age of 14. Sexton turned professional in 2004 after rising through the amateur ranks and finishing 4th at the amateur world championship. He now competes internationally and serves as a team captain for Innova Champion Discs.

Dion Arlyn got his start in 2003 at age 16, riding bikes from Sexton’s house with his brother Colin, who loaned him some discs to play with and shared some basic instruction to get him started. Prior to Arlyn’s introduction to disc golf, the two had already been playing ultimate frisbee together and developing their throwing skills. With the Sexton family being engaged in organized side of the sport, Arlyn quickly moved into competitions, participating in his first PDGA event that year. Arlyn turned professional in 2006, and has since competed in over 200 events with 37 wins and a distance throwing world title. He’s directed over two dozen tournaments, and was recently nominated for president of the Mason County Disc Golf Club in Washington, where he now resides.

Today, the 18 hole course has concrete tees, and nearly 6,000ft of length, making the walk a leisurely stroll along flat terrain with a woodsy feel along the river, and easily accessible for competitors of all types. With 12 holes between 300-400ft, 5 holes under 300ft, and one hole over 400ft, there’s challenges for all skill levels. Nearby soccer fields make a great area for practicing distance throwing as well. Play it Again Sports on 9th Street (map) is a great resource for equipment if you’re looking to get started.

Whether you’re interested in competing with others or just enjoying improving your own game, Willamette Park (map) is a great place to grab a disc and let ‘er rip!

Article by Randall Bonner. Photo courtesy Nathan Sexton.