It might be said that news of Northgate Free Methodist Church leadership’s desire to underwrite a nine-hole disc golf course on its property at 8160 Bank St. Rd. could be a sign of redemption for Phillip Boyd, the City of Batavia resident who caused a firestorm in May when he proposed placing a course at Centennial Park.
“I was Public Enemy No. 1 for a while, but now I just laugh it off,” Boyd said this afternoon, adding that he and Northgate personnel have joined forces to build a course behind the church in the Town of Batavia.
Boyd also said that he and fellow disc golf enthusiast Matt Strobel are working with the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees about a course there -- and have left the door open to a course at Williams Park in the city.
“At one point, it didn’t look like anything was going to happen, and now we may be getting three in the area,” Boyd said, recognizing the irony in all of it.
The subject of disc golf came up at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, with City Manager Rachael Tabelski (responding to a public comment) saying that she hadn’t heard from Boyd recently.
Boyd said he left a message yesterday with Ray Tourt, the city’s maintenance supervisor, seeking to continue talks about a course at the Pearl Street recreation area.
“I am looking to get final approval on the course at Williams Park and then make a new proposal to City Council at a future Business Meeting,” Boyd said.
While the city may still be an option, Boyd said he currently is focusing on assisting Northgate Youth Pastor Dan Calkins with the logistics of setting up the course at Northgate.
“We’ve created a course design and the board unanimously voted yes,” Boyd said. “They said this is something they wanted to do for the community. I didn’t realize it but they’ve got about 50 acres behind the church.”
Boyd said they’ve cleared space for four of the nine holes thus far, and hope to make room for the remaining five before the end of this month. The goal is to open the course – which will be free to the public – next spring.
The course will feature tee pads, tee signage and baskets, he said, noting that the church’s financial commitment could approach $5,000.
Contacted today, Calkins said he read the articles detailing Boyd’s plight on The Batavian and approached Rev. Vern Saile, senior pastor, Mark Logan, operations director; and the board with the idea of locating a course on church grounds.
“Even if you don’t go to Northgate or never want to come to Northgate, we want to show that we love the community and we want to be a part of the community,” Calkins said. “We welcome the public to enjoy the course at no charge. Northgate is covering the sponsorship 100 percent.”
Calkins said disc golf fits in with the church’s outreach as it currently offers pickleball on Wednesdays at 2 and 8 p.m.
“We want to show the community that we’re more than just a Sunday church. We want to be part of their lives all week,” he said.
Boyd said he’s “pretty sure” the course at GCC will happen, considering that he and his partners have raised the money to fund it.
He also said that Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle in Batavia would be willing to sell disc golf equipment if the courses are built.
Photo above: Northgate Free Methodist Church.