There are a lot of changes coming for Evergreen Park, but not before celebrating disc golf and several other events.
The good news is that disc golf and ball golf will be in Baytown in the near future and beyond.
DISC GOLF AND EVENTS AT EVERGREEN PARK
Disc golf will continue at Evergreen Park in May. The Build Baytown I group, along with assistance from the City of Baytown, has worked on a plan so that disc golfers can play the Evergreen course through the end of May. Gorilla Disc Golf will host the “Farewell For Evergreen” sanctioned tournament Sunday, May 22nd. City crews will begin removing disc golf baskets in early June and construction on the new T-36 ball golf course will begin.
When it comes to clubhouse rentals, the Rotary Club and other scheduled events at Evergreen Clubhouse will continue as planned, through the end of the year. The Parks & Recreation Department is offering other venues as alternative options for those with a reserved rental and are wanting to avoid construction of the new T-36 golf course. Visitors will want to avoid areas where is being performed for safety. Future bookings will not be accepted by the City. Build Baytown I is preparing a booking plan for 2023 and beyond.
THE CURRENT STATE OF DISC GOLF
Not many people know more about disc golf in Baytown, or disc golf at Evergreen, than Chris Vandergriff. Chris, a professional disc golfer for 22 years, owns Gorilla Disc Golf Shoppe in Seabrook and was also one of the designers for the Evergreen course. Chris said, “When I walked Evergreen for the first time with Clifford Hatch from the Parks Department, I told him I would have the Texas State Disc Golf Championships within a year and that happened. Being a professional player, I know what it takes to design a course and what those properties need to facilitate high-level play and high-level tournaments.”
It’s safe to say that there has not been a bigger fan of this disc golf course than Chris. After all, he is the course designer. Chris said, “In disc golf, we like to weave in and out of the trees, whereas in traditional golf, the trees kind of the define the open fairways. The fairways direct which way you’re going to go. What made Evergreen so special is that we didn’t have to the stick to the lines laid out in the traditional golf fairways. We were able to weave up and across the ponds. We had very few restrictions.” He also admits the course wasn’t perfect. “It was more open and some players asked for more trees or a more wooded technical course. Those downfalls were made up for in a very strategic design and use of out of bounds,” Chris said.
Chris and his team are preparing for one final tournament at the Evergreen course. He said, “As soon as I broke the news I got dozens, if not hundreds of requests. It’s really important for people to go out and get one last turn, one last shot at Evergreen.”
While the course is changing back to ball golf, the memories will always be there. Chris said he will never forget the hole-in-one that was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter. He said, “It was on the Top Ten. I also enjoyed having some of the best players in the world coming to play the course.”
FLOATING TO THE FUTURE
While it’s impossible to replicate an exact course like Evergreen, it is not impossible to provide an innovative course with a new set of challenges. Chris and another accomplished course designer, Scotty Linthicum, will be tasked with creating a new, high-caliber course on 40 acres of land near JB Lefevre and Market Street. And remember the complaints about requests for a wooded technical course? Chris said, “It will be a very wooded, very technical course carved out literally through the woods in the park property. It’s a very unique property and I’m flattered that we get to design from the ground up there.” The course will also offer several hills and undulating terrain and will offer features that couldn’t be created at Evergreen. Chris added, “There’s not going to be another course in the area that is really carved out like this one.”
So when will work begin on this new disc golf course? Chris and Scotty intend to spend a month on the property. Chris said, “We will have jeans, long sleeves, and machetes in hand. We’re going to go out and create something that is going to be fantastic with some of the same design elements that made Evergreen a top-notch course. The Baytown Parks and Recreation Department have been instrumental and have gone above and beyond in finding a place to have a new, innovative and quality course in Baytown.” The new course, that will sit next to a portion of the Goose Creek Trail, will also come with restrooms, a parking lot, a covered pavilion, and more.
The sport of disc golf is growing around the country. Experts estimate around 240,000 people play the game. Compare that to about 17,000 in 22 years ago. While the game is growing, so is the need for more courses of all levels of play. The designers are working on a smaller 9-hole course at Duke Hill Park and eventually will plan out a new course at Russell Park. Chris said, “It just attests to the willingness and dedication from the Baytown Parks and Recreation Department. They really love disc golf and are interested in not just tournament level courses, but also growing the sport with beginner-friendly courses as well.”
He added, “It’s just a great reflection of how the City of Baytown cares about the disc golf community.”
T-36 GOLF COURSE
As mentioned before, construction will soon begin on the innovative double-loop concept course. You can read more about the course here.
Keep watching the City of Baytown’s website and social media pages for more updates.