Disc golf course opens at Keator Park in Polo

Corbin Martin, 14, and dad Andy Martin, both of Rockford, toss disc golfs discs toward the basket that serves as the sport's goal. Andy Martin grew up in Polo and has been disc golfing on-and-off for about 20 years; Corbin, has been playing for one year. The pair attended the grand opening of the disc golf course at Keator Park in Polo on May 1.

POLO — Whether the 20-plus mph wind helped or hurt those who came out Sunday to enjoy Polo’s new disc golf course depended on which way a person was aiming.

Polo Park Board members hosted a grand opening of the new course at Keator Park on May 1. About 50 people attended the event, which was delayed a day because of storms.

“Why are we here today? We’re here because we now have one of the top growing sports available right here in our community for families and friends to enjoy, which I think is awesome,” project lead Shellie Graden said. “Disc golf offers a lot of opportunities. It gives us a great way to get outdoors, socialize, meet new people … and of course you can get a little exercise in as well.”

Graden, a member of the Polo Park Board, spearheaded the effort to install a disc golf course at the park with the help of Nora Balayti. Balayti is co-founder of the Rock River Disc Golf Club and has played disc golf for more than 20 years.

Members of the Rock River Disc Golf Club volunteered to help Polo Public Works staff install the course, which will be open year-round.

“It means a lot to me to come out here and share another one of my passions with all of you,” said Balayti, who also is an art teacher at Polo Community High School. “My students that are here, thanks for coming out guys.”

The course’s opening drew in people from around the area.

Grayden Church, 13, came from Tampico with his mother, Amanda Kendall. He started playing disc golf about three years ago, and Kendall recently joined in.

When asked what brought him and Kendall to the event, Grayden said, “Just to see how many people come out here, because I think it’s very cool how rapidly the sport is growing.”

He enjoys hanging out and having fun with friends as much as the game itself, Grayden said.

From Rockford came Andy Martin and 14-year-old son Corbin Martin.

Corbin, who has played disc golf for a year, said he enjoyed the community the sport offers. Andy Martin, who grew up in Polo, agreed.

“I like the fact that it gets him [Corbin] off screens, too, which is really nice,” he said.

“It’s a nice course,” Andy Martin added of the Keator Park course. “We played it twice before they started the giveaways.”

Several discs and a few other prizes paid for by sponsors were raffled off.

When the concession stand at the Keator Park outdoor pool opens Memorial Day weekend, there will be a few discs available for rental and also some for sale, Graden said. Until then, anyone who wants to play can purchase discs at her business, Haldane Custom Paint and Body, located at 602 S. Division Ave., in Polo. There are no fees to play the course.