Ed Verlie gazed 185 feet straight ahead, staring down a narrow fairway and fixating onto a target.
Atop a tee pad, the Huron resident contorted himself, twisting his right shoulder just beneath his face.
Verlie’s body then suddenly unraveled.
The powerful movement culminated with a disc majestically spinning into a blue sky, wrapping around obstacles and landing on freshly mowed grass just feet from his desired destination.
A near perfect shot.
Verlie’s successful putt on his second shot meant he became the first person to birdie a hole on Erie MetroParks’ newest feature.
District officials on Thursday unveiled the Osborn MetroPark Disc Golf Course — the first such recognized venue in Erie County.
“I’m really excited about this,” said Verlie, who has regularly played disc golf in Norwalk and Medina for about 15 years. “Now, right here in my hometown, I can take advantage of the course here. This is a dream.”
MetroParks officials spent about $5,000 in taxpayer funds to create the nine-hole course. Costs included landscaping the area and purchasing metal baskets, or holes players fling discs into. Some sponsoring deals helped offset the cost.
The course, with holes ranging from 170 feet to 414 feet, offers unique, all-natural barriers blocking a hole’s direct path. Instead of water hazards and sand bunkers, this course forces players to angle their discs around weeds and other shrubbery. And on the course’s final hole, trees arch in a tunnel-like formation, requiring players to throw discs straight and low.
Best of all: There’s no cost to tee off nor green fee required each time people play.
“It’s a good, free recreational activity,” said park services technician Adam Saylor said.
Saylor, who helped create and design the course, modeled Osborn MetroParks’ layout after surveying other local disc golf venues, such as Norwalk’s Great Blue Heron.
The work began about a year ago, first starting with officials pouring concrete for circular tee-off pads. In each pad, workers imprinted trees native to Osborn MetroPark — black walnut and sweet gum, for instance — for an exclusive feel.
The course’s intricacies impressed seasoned pros, such as Ken Rollins who played during the inaugural round.
“This is going to be a very good course for beginners,” Rollins said. “This park draws a lot of people and another added activity that’s fun and free only draws more people here.”
Rollins’ response delighted Erie MetroParks commissioner Kurt Landefeld, who fully backed the course’s inception when discussions first started in spring 2012.
“This is a real asset that we’re adding to Erie County,” Landefeld said.
Glossary of disc golf terms
• Ace: Known as a hole-in one. An ace occurs when a player makes his or her first shot, or drive, into the basket.
• Approach: Usually the second shot of a hole, designed to place the disc within putting distance.
• Basket: What players aim for with the disc. The basket is like the traditional version of golf’s hole. Once a disc comes to rest in the basket, the hole is considered complete.
• Drive: Any throw off of the tee pad, or a throw from the fairway designed for maximum distance.
• Lie: The spot where the disc comes to rest. This is often marked by a mini-disc marker.
• Par: Like in ball golf, each disc golf hole has a posted par. The par is the desired number of strokes a player would need to complete the hole. To the competitive disc golfer, each hole is a par 3, making the total par for 18 holes 54.
• Putt: The final throw(s) of the hole aimed at getting a disc to come to rest in the basket.
• Tee pad: The location or designated area in which the first throw of the golf hole should take place from. Tee pads are typically made of concrete or rubber.
• Throw: The act of advancing the disc toward the basket. This can be done by many different throwing styles such as backhand, forehand and rollers. Each throw is counted toward the player’s score.
Source: Disc Golf Association