COEUR d'ALENE - A sport is growing where people are throwing.
Discs, that is.
Idaho is home to many disc golf courses and players. It is somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, an outdoor activity that is sweeping through the state and landing in more state and local parks each year.
"I think it's the most fun sport out there," said Geoff Carr, public relations coordinator of the North Idaho Disc Golf Club. "There's a real strong sense of community. We just all want to see the sport grow. It's not an exclusive club, anyone can pick up a disc and throw a Frisbee."
Carr is a disc golf enthusiast and involved in local tournaments as well as upkeep of area courses. He said he was up at the crack of dawn just about every day last summer clearing and preparing his favorite course, Cherry Hill.
"I just wanted to make it safe so people playing it could actually enjoy it," he said. While Carr is partial to Cherry Hill, he also enjoys the courses in Corbin Park in Post Falls and Farragut State Park in Bayview.
President of the disc golf club, Ben Squires, 26, started playing disc golf when he was 15. His interest began when he was living in his home state of California, where disc golf originated. He just graduated from University of Idaho, where students can play a 9-hole course on campus. Squires helped teach the disc golf class at U of I. He said he's noticed an increase in disc golf players and courses since he moved to North Idaho in 2006. When he got here, only Corbin and Farragut participated.
"All the different cities have gotten involved in putting courses in their parks," Squires said. "By running the leagues, I think I've gotten a lot more community involvement."
That involvement is spreading.
The upcoming 14th annual Farragut open tournament is Idaho's first A-Tier Professional Disc Golf Association-sanctioned tournament. Farragut boasts three championship-level courses.
"Three courses makes for a spectacular venue," Squires said. "The parks department does a great job up there."
Squires said that as disc golf becomes more popular, more land becomes invested in the sport.
"It's really instrumental to have courses that can sustain larger pars because it adds more elements to the game," he said.
Farragut is among five state parks with established courses, and one on the way. Satisfy your disc golf cravings this summer at the following North Idaho courses, and elsewhere in the state:
CHERRY HILL: This is an 18-hole course that begins on open, flat ground and gradually ascends the slope of the hill entering into the woods of a natural park with steep hillsides, panoramic views of Coeur d'Alene and many natural obstacles. The front nine holes are fairly clear while the back nine are moderately wooded. Located just north of I-90 on 15th Street.
BLUEGRASS PARK: This 9-hole course is laid out in an 11-acre circular passive-use park with a large playground and picnic shelter. It includes lots of trees and rolling hills. The first tee is located near the off-street parking lot off W. Dalton Avenue, centered between N. Courcelles Parkway and N. Lafayette Lane.
CORBIN PARK: Located along the Spokane River in Post Falls, Corbin's 18 holes are among recreational areas, picnic tables and even wildlife. The course offers opportunities for diverse shots. Players will encounter elevation, some water hazards, large rocks and forested area. Take I-90 to Exit No. 2 (Pleasant View Road), go south, take a left on Riverbend Avenue to a right on Corbin Park Road. It's .25 miles to the park.
FARRAGUT STATE PARK: The course: Farragut has three 18-hole disc golf courses. The Wreckreator, Northstar and A.W.O.L. courses offer what some call "a world-class disc golfing experience."
It also has The Little Black Bear, a nine-hole short course that is a fun and entertaining course for beginners.
A large selection of golf discs can be found at the Farragut Gift Shop in case you forget your gear, or you want to try the sport while camping at the park.
Getting there: It is reached off U.S. 95 in Athol. Go east on Idaho 54 for four miles.
MASSACRE ROCKS: The course is fairly new and one of the most challenging at any of the state parks.
This course could qualify for one of the challenges on "Survivor."
It's situated in a juniper, sagebrush area and features narrow fairways, elevation drops and rises and even has several holes that golfers will be throwing over ravines.
The slogan for the course is: "It ain't your momma's disc golf course."
It has a front nine and a back nine. Drive 201 miles east of Boise on Interstates 84 and 86.
LAKE WALCOTT: The park is known for its fishing and boating, but the 21-hole disc golf course gets raves from pros and families alike.
It's in a grassy part of the park and mostly flat on fairly easy terrain. It also features short holes.
There are a few places where it's near water to add a slight challenge.
The park is popular for family reunions and so is the disc golf course.
Getting there: It's 11 miles northeast of Rupert off Idaho 24.
THREE ISLAND CROSSING: Three Island is known for its Oregon Trail history and bird watching, but you can also watch discs flying.
The park has a nine-hole course, but park officials have put in for a grant for another nine holes. What would Oregon Trail pioneers think of a disc golf course? Well, they could have played disc golf with dried cow pies.
Enough on history. The current course is on a grassy park-like flat in the picnic area near the Snake River. You'll love the shade, which is especially welcomed in summer.
Although the course is fairly easy, there are a couple of spots where you have to throw over an old (dry most of the time) pond and through some trees. It's a short distance, but you've got to hook to the left.
The park has been throwing around a name for the course: "Gone with the Wind."
We all know how windy it can get along the Snake River. Just hope it's at your back when you're throwing.
Getting there: Take Interstate 84 east from Boise to Glenns Ferry and follow the signs.
EAGLE ISLAND: Eagle Island is an urban day-use state park with swimming, fishing, a waterslide, hiking and horseback riding.
There's year-round disc golfing with a nine-hole course available May through October and an 18-hole course open November through April.
Golfers like the woodsy feel of the park and also some of the water and brush hazards.
Another advantage is that the courses are not as crowded as others in the Treasure Valley.
Getting there: Eagle Island State Park is on Hatchery Drive east of Linder Road between Idaho 44 and East Chinden Boulevard.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.