PARADISE VALLEY – The next time you travel to Chico Hot Springs Resort for a soak, dinner or to dance, take along your disc golf discs.
Chico has installed a new 18-basket course in the hills to the west of the main compound, on what’s called Ranch 635. The cost is $8.50, which includes admission to the pools. If you are staying overnight, use of the course and pool is included in your room expense. Discs can be rented at the front desk if you forget yours, or buy one at the gift shop. Wrist bands can be purchased at the front desk, in the bar, gift shop or poolside grill.
The course rolls over the rocky remains of what geologists call the Chico moraine. A moraine is the rock and sediment left at the edge of where a glacier stalled. So the large, rounded boulders poking out of the ground were rolled there during the Pinedale glacial period, which extended from about 30,000 to 10,000 years ago.
The course has wide, flat, rubberized launch pads for the tee boxes, making the first throw easier. After that golfers should watch out for cactus as they search for discs in the tall grass and sagebrush. Adding to the wild feel of the course are the scattered bones of a winter-killed deer, large badger holes, and incredible views of the Gallatin Mountains to the west, the Paradise Valley and the Absaroka Mountains. These views alone make the course worthwhile.
One top-of-the-hill tee box looks straight toward nearby 10,921-foot Emigrant Peak, which can prove a bit distracting to the golfer’s throw. I played early in the morning and also got to see a mule deer doe jog my way, her large, bouncing ears brightly outlined by the orange glow of the rising sun reflecting off the Gallatin Mountains behind her.