DAILY BRIEFING: Disc golf, short-term showdown, and more

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, March 29. Expect abundant sunshine and a high temperature near 75 degrees today. First, some news you need to know …

Disc golfers hope to expand to a Palm Springs park

By Kendall Balchan

Look out, pickleball players, there’s a new casual sport looking to chart a course in Palm Springs — disc golf.

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Just as more and more tennis courts in the nation are turning into pickleball courts, golf courses and parks are seeing the addition of disc golf courses. In the Coachella Valley, interest in the sport is so high and the course count so low that a group of local disc golfers — Coachella Valley Discers — hopes to put a Palm Springs course on the map.

Jon Berg, a representative of the group, made his pitch for a course in the city Monday evening, telling members of the Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Commission, “The ability of people to go out and play is being constrained, especially in the Coachella Valley. We are the golf capital of California, and we only have one disc golf course to play.” That course is located at Hovley Soccer Park in Palm Desert.

During his presentation, Berg went through each of the parks in Palm Springs, laying out their pros and cons and showing possible course layouts. Sunrise Park would work best for the sport, he said, due to the existence of some needed infrastructure and mature trees that would create an inviting course layout.

“We’re really excited about this park,” Berg said of Sunrise Park, especially with the city’s swim center, the main library, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Mizell Center all adjacent. “It really is a great facility, perfect for what we’re looking for. We took a group of our club members out there, and it just played awesome. The fairways are beautiful. Everyone loved it.”

Berg assured the Commission it wouldn’t take much to get disc golf up and running. All that’s needed are the baskets themselves, a concrete tee pad, and some tee signs. The baskets are easily set up with a hole measuring two feet deep and 18 inches wide, a pole, and the basket. The baskets would be permanent but could quickly be taken down for special events.

He also noted existing paths in Sunrise Park could be used as tee pads. In other parks, tee pads would have to be built, adding extra cost and time to the project.

“Sunrise Park is plug-and-play,” he said. “We can put the baskets in and start playing tomorrow.”

Commission members appeared to back the idea, agreeing to explore what could be done to erect a disc golf course in a city park. They especially liked hearing about the low cost.

“The Disc golf baskets are about $350 apiece, and our local clubs have already raised enough money to buy the baskets,” said Berg. To pay for the rest of the elements, he proposed that his group reach out to local businesses to sponsor tee signs. Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Jerry Alcorn said Measure J funds could also be sought if needed.

Berg also assured the Commission that although disc golf holes are hundreds of feet long, they blend in naturally. He also gave assurances that people enjoying the open space near disc golfers were at little risk.

“I think disc golf is a good idea,” said Commissioner Deiter Crawford. “I’ve seen it being played already in some local parks. My only concern was just being hit by a Frisbee in the multi-use areas of the park.”

“The golfers would be so appreciative to have the baskets at the park,” Berg answered. “They’re not going to do anything to jeopardize that. They’re very smart about where they’re throwing and making sure the coast is clear.”

It’s understandable why both pickleball and disc golf are growing in popularity. Both sports are more accessible and cheaper for people of all ages and backgrounds to play, making them more accessible than tennis or golf. Disc golfers, for example, don’t need expensive equipment or club membership. A plastic disc and a good arm are the only requirements.

Just how popular are they? Pickleball and disc golf are the country’s fastest-growing sports. Berg said disc golf saw a 67% increase in new players over the last two years. Worldwide there are about 70,000 active members of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), which lays down the rules for the distance between tee pad and basket and how to assign par for a hole.

Brought to you in partnership with Palm Springs Windmill Tours

? Briefly

Most homes along this stretch of North Starr Road in the Racquet Club Estates neighborhood are licensed short-term vacation rentals.

SHORT-TERM SHOWDOWN: Opponents and proponents of short-term vacation rentals, working off the same set of city-supplied data, have widely differing views of what it means. The interpretation of the Palm Springs City Council, however, may ultimately decide if the data means anything at all. Both sides will get a chance to state their case this evening when the Council holds a study session on the issue starting at 5:30 p.m. Coming out of the session, city staff may be directed to make amendments to current regulations governing short-term vacation rentals in the city — believed to be some of the strictest in the nation — or may be asked to do nothing at all.  FULL STORY: Armed with new data, friends and foes of vacation rentals prepare to make a case for their cause

DRUG DEALER SENTENCED: A self-proclaimed gang leader from Palm Springs was sentenced Monday to nearly 22 years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine on five occasions, following a series of previous convictions. Efrain Chavez, 37, pleaded guilty in November to five counts of distributing methamphetamine, admitting that he sold a total of roughly 6.3 pounds of the drug during the various 2019 transactions in parking lots in Cathedral City, Palm Springs and Colton. Prosecutors said he had nearly 5 more pounds of the drug in his possession when he was arrested in November 2019. He was sentenced Monday to 260 months in federal prison. When he completes the sentence, he will serve another 10 years on supervised release. Prosecutors said Chavez has five prior felony convictions, and despite that criminal record and various stints in prison, he continued to sell narcotics.

? Today’s events

  • The Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters are having coffee at Koffi, starting at 8 a.m. Later in the day they’re having dinner at Billy Reed’s.
  • The Mizell Center offers multiple events and classes today, starting at 8 a.m.
  • Groundbreaking for a new CV Link segment will take place today at Demuth Park, starting at 9 a.m.
  • The Palm Springs American Legion is hosting an appreciation dinner to honor Vietnam War era veterans this evening at 5 p.m. The event is free to any veteran who served between November 1955 and May 1975. The Legion is located at 400 North Belardo Road.
  • Jazz on the 2nd Floor runs from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.
  • The Palm Springs City Council meets for a special study session on vacation rentals at 5:30 p.m.
  • Toastmasters starts at 6 p.m. Check here for information, including a special offer for subscribers to The Post.

?What to watch for

  • The United Nations Association of the Coachella Valley presents Covid and Kids: A Mental Health Crisis on Thursday at 4 p.m. via Zoom.
  • Palm Canyon Theatre is staging Cyrano de Bergerac from Thursday through Sunday.
  • Desert Ensemble Theatre presents All This Intimacy from Friday through Sunday.
  • Dezart Performs presents Every Brilliant Thing starting Friday and running through April 10.
  • Salon Rouge returns to the Palm Springs International Dance Festival, presented by Nickerson-Rossi Dance, with Ballroom Bash! on Friday, starting at 6 p.m. at Desert Rose Playhouse.
  • The fifth annual STEM Conference for families, presented by Palm Springs Unified School District, is Saturday April 2 at Raymond Cree Middle School, starting at 9 a.m.
  • The Palm Springs Animal Shelter’s Faux Fur Ball is Saturday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at the Palm Springs Air Museum.
  • The Palm Springs Historical Society presents a talk titled The Evolution of Human Rights in Palm Springs on Wednesday April 6 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. 
  • The Havurah of the Desert is now accepting reservations for a 2nd-night community Seder, planned for Saturday, April 16. Reservations are $45 and can be made by going here.

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