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A ‘Blessing’ for the Walnut Park District

Published: Friday, April 22, 2011 3:17 p.m. CDT
(BCR photo/Chris Yucus)
Walnut’s George Blessing fires off a putt on Hole No. 1 of Walnut’s new disc golf course.
(BCR photo/Chris Yucus )
Jordan Twidell (left) and George Blessing dodge some discs at Walnut’s Hole No. 2. The duo was part of a contingent who volunteered their services to install the new course in Walnut. The nine baskets for the course were donated by TCI Manufacturing and Equipment.

To say Walnut’s George Blessing is a fan of disc golf may be a bit of an understatement.

“This man is just nuts about disc golf,” chuckles Walnut Park district director Jerry Fairbanks.

But, with a wife and children at home, Blessing, who works in the IT Department at Perry Memorial Hospital, did not always have time to squeeze in a round of the sport, which closely mirrors traditional golf, using plastic discs instead of balls and clubs, and elevated baskets instead of holes.

The solution Blessing devised for his problem was simple — if he could bring a disc golf course into Walnut, he’d have more opportunities to play.

“I was sitting one day and just had a crazy idea, because I play softball there (at the Walnut Park District diamonds),” said Blessing. “I like disc golf a lot, and I had seen lots of unused space around the ball fields.

“I was like ‘I wonder, can I really fit nine holes in there?’, so I pulled up Google maps and just started drawing, like a rough estimate of ‘How long would that hole be, how long would that one be?’”

After surveying the Park District land from the satellite images, and plotting out the basics for a nine-hole course, Blessing decided that his dream of disc golf in Walnut could be a reality.

“I was like, ‘Hey, that’s actually possible,’” said Blessing.

Fast forward a month later, and thanks to a generous donation from TCI Manufacturing and Equipment in Walnut that paid for the entire nine-hole course, and a team of volunteer laborers who helped install it, Blessing’s course had gone from a dream to reality.

Fairbanks said he and the Walnut Park District Board were happy to get out of the way and let Blessing take over.

“I thought that this was almost a no-brainer situation here,” said Fairbanks. “He was going to do all the work and we were going to benefit from it.”

“It’s something that just kind of fell into our laps, we’re happy about it,” said Fairbanks. “He deserves all the credit, all I had to do was say ‘yes’ to a very simple question.”

Blessing said he never would have expected his dream course would come to fruition so quickly, taking only a month from his first idea to having it completed.

“It was just a crazy idea of looking at a Google map, and saying ‘Hey, this is possible,’” said Blessing.

Now, he has a little extra time to squeeze in a round or two.

“Now, I’m actually getting up in the mornings at 6 o’clock and playing before I go to work, even,” said Blessing. “I’m hoping to play every day of the week, but that might be a bit high of a goal.”

Fairbanks is right, Blessing is nuts about disc golf. And now he’s got the course to prove it.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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