The Bay Area is known for world-class recreation -- fishing, crabbing, four-wheeling, surfing.
Let's go ahead and add disc golf to the list.
Fans of a growing but still somewhat obscure sport have been working to clear dead timber and debris from Airport Heights Park. A new disc golf course on the site will the Bay Area's fifth, and it promises to be the most challenging.
'Right off the bat, it's going to play tougher because of the conditions," said Neil 'Doc" Esteves, the course's designer.
Players will have to adjust for strong headwinds and navigate their discs around obstacles, such as trees and a tight dogleg corner. There's also talk of building a bridge over a water hazard.
Disc golf is played much like regular golf, but flying discs (Frisbee and other brands) take the place of clubs and balls.
Esteves and members of the West Coast Flyers, a local disc golf club, have been working closely with North Bend city officials and Coos County Airport District commissioners for the better part of a year to get the new course started. The airport owns the property, while the city of North Bend maintains it.
The culmination of their efforts will be an 18-hole course. That'll be nine targets with two tees each, similar to the courses at Winsor Park in North Bend and Mingus Park in Coos Bay.
Like those courses, the new North Bend playing field will feature hanging metal baskets as targets. Each hole is a par three. They'll also construct concrete pads from which to tee off.
Esteves and crew are building the park a hole at a time as they secure sponsors. So far, they have lined up about six businesses to advertise on the targets. That will help pay for the chain net baskets, which cost about $400 each.
The sport's popularity is soaring. In 1977, when Esteves was a newbie to disc golf, there were few courses. About three, actually -- worldwide. Now there are well over 2,000, most in the U.S.
The addition of the Airport Heights course should ease congestion at some of the existing courses -- namely Winsor, said Bryan Owens, parks superintendent for the city of North Bend.
'We have a lot of pressure at Winsor Park with a lot of people who play," Owens said.
He's seen the sport grow since the Winsor course was constructed some 15 years ago. That course is currently getting a makeover.
Owens is impressed with how local players maintain their grounds.
'These guys are hard-core, great people very, energetic," he said.
Esteves, 50, designed the Airport Heights course to be trail safe, meaning pedestrians who stroll the adjacent paved footpath won't be dodging rogue projectiles. Plus, placards will be placed to advise players to be on the lookout for pathway strollers.
Simply put, 'It's going to be awesome," said Lane Major, 27. 'It's going to give us skilled disc golfers a place to go."
The course should be ready to play later this summer.
Reporter Nate Traylor can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236; or at firstname.lastname@example.org.