John Rodriguez hurls a flying disc during a Rogue Valley Disc Golf Association tournament Holmes Park in Medford Thursday. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

Bye-bye birdie

After several years of fielding nuisance complaints from neighbors around Holmes Park, the city of Medford is flinging its disc golf course to another part of town.

For Carl Stufflet of the Rogue Valley Disc Golf Association, it's a good move.

"We're as happy to move as the people are to have us move," he said. "I don't want people to not like us because we're in their backyards."

The Medford Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday decided to let the neighborhood have Holmes Park back and build a new 18-hole disc golf course at an undeveloped part of Bear Creek Park.

The one-acre parcel, donated by Betty Root to the parks department in 2003, is between Interstate 5 and Siskiyou Boulevard, northwest of the Little League fields.

In disc golf, players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association Web site, the object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc. The game has rules and terminology similar to golf, but is often played, for no charge, in local parks.

"We're the blue collar of golf," said Stufflet.

Baskets, tee pads and other amenities for the new course will cost about $10,500 and the Rogue Valley Disc Golf Association has offered to pay half.

Brian Sjothun, parks and recreation department director, said neighbors surrounding Holmes Park have complained for years to the city about noise levels, traffic problems, foul language, urination and beer drinking. The neighborhood park is surrounded by houses on Modoc Avenue, White Oak Drive, Fir Oaks Drive and Dellwood Place.

Stufflet, who invented the Snapp Capp, a plastic cap to reseal pull-tab beverage cans that is selling fast in stores nationwide — admits disc golfers can get loud.

"We get excited like any other sport," he said. "There's a lot of noise associated with this game."

Stufflet said the sport has caught on with locals in recent years and more than 100 players registered for a tournament held Thursday.

Sjothun said since 2004 the parks commission and the disc golf association have been seeking a new location for an 18-hole course. The Holmes Park course has nine holes. Sjothun said the local club has been helpful in the venture and has been working with staff to design the new course. The Bear Creek Park property is not surrounded by houses, and also has restrooms and a parking lot nearby.

Sjothun said it was the parks department's goal to have the project completed by June 30. However, he learned a conditional use permit and zone change are required for the undeveloped land first.

"We're not going to be able to move it this summer," he said.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail

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