Photo by Vernon Leat - 1980s
Tom Ingle was the first, in Kansas City, to establish the game of GOLF... played with a DISC.
THE SWOPE PARK FOLF COURSE
(Today... Kansas City is considered a Mecca for the sport with over 60 courses in the area)
Back then... in the beginning... the Park Department would not fund the project and so we formed a "lease agreement" in which
KCMO would provide the land and Tom Ingle would design, construct, manage and maintain the course... 365 days a year.
"I felt the best way to pay for everything was to charge a fee to those that played the course."
As one of the first commercial (pay-and-play) courses in America, we had to respect the fact that,
at the time, Ed Headrick was displaying and using the trademark symbol “™” with DISC GOLF™.
This meant that he owned the rights to use and/or license the trademark name of “DISC GOLF™”
and was protected by the U.S. PATENT and TRADEMARK OFFICE.
When I opened the Swope course in 1981, Ed even suggested that I pay a 10% royalty fee
for the right to use the name DISC GOLF™.
I ended up buying the baskets and tee signs from him but… we went with “FOLF”...
instead of paying the royalty fee and to avoid any legal issues or complications down the road.
Ed Headrick released his trademark on the term “Disc Golf” in 1983.
"THE SHACK" at SWOPE
Split-level floor, 1 chair, 4 windows, retail shelves, electricity, refrigerator, heater, color television, lights, land-line telephone, bullhorn and a trash can.
(Tile floor, wood paneling and insulated.)
The #1 Course Worldwide
SWOPE was known for its "Country Club" atmosphere.
SWOPE was the BEST!
SWOPE WAS THE BEST because of daily management, daily maintenance and a pay-and-play structure BUT... WAS SWOPE A SUCCESS?
Relatively speaking and in comparison to other courses... YES. But... in the eyes of the "general population"... NO.
Even though SWOPE was the #1 course...
it still, wasn't good enough to attract the mainstream "general public".
We didn't put enough money into the original budget nor ongoing capital improvements.
(It was also early on in the game and we just didn't know what we know today.)
For me... my time at SWOPE was invaluable...
and a very rare, (hands-on), 10 year learning experience.
A real lesson in understanding more about the fundamentals of the game.
(Everything from design, construction, management, maintenance, marketing and tournament production.)
In 1991, after 10 years and with a heavy heart, I left SWOPE and they turned it into a "free" course... it was never the same.
(No more daily supervision, no more daily maintenance and no more daily cash flow to pay for everything.)
Proper Grass and Tree Maintenance
Annual fertilization, weed control, aeration and over-seeding.
Poor Grass and Tree Maintenance
No fertilization, no weed control, no aeration and no seeding.
Over time... the grass suffered and soil compaction, (from foot traffic), starved scores of trees from nutrition and water.
In 2018... after 37 years... the original SWOPE course was shut down, bulldozed and forever closed.
Today... the site is the new location for the city's animal shelter. A multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art facility... and a very worthy cause.
The city has plans to re-build the course, in a new location, within SWOPE PARK.
Terry Rynard is now Director at Parks and Recreation
Kansas City, MO
Many thanks and much appreciation to those at Kansas City, MO Parks & Recreation for their help, support and all they have done!
Jerry Darter, Mark McHenry, Steve Lampone, Mary Edith Lillis, Joyce Stuermer, Bill Taft and many more!
Key people from the KCMO PARKS that helped launch Disc-Sports in Kansas City in the late 1970s!
KANSAS CITY'S strong position in DISC-SPORTS is a credit to the incredible support of thousands players and volunteers over the years!
So many special individuals that played a specific part in forming the foundation and steadfastly keeping it going to this day!
Too many to mention but, we all stand together as one, in a proud community, that helped build a sport that will go on forever!
GREAT HISTORY at SWOPE PARK in KANSAS CITY, MO
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for whatever budget we are given... small, medium or large.
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