John A. DiSciascio is the executive director of The Friends of Sedgley Woods, which runs Sedgley Woods disc golf course in Fairmount Park. He helps maintain the disc golf course, stage tournaments and work with others who use the park, all on a volunteer basis.
How did the game of disc golf get its start?
Disc golf started in the 1970s and was introduced to Philadelphia by the now-defunct Philadelphia Frisbee Club around 1976. Sedgley Woods in Fairmount Park was one of the first disc golf courses in the world. There are now thousands of courses all over the globe.
Why do you volunteer for The Friends of Sedgley Woods?
I volunteer here because I love all the parks in Philly, especially Sedgley. It’s a beautiful wooded area and I love the game of disc golf. The people in our friends group are an eclectic, diverse group from all over the city and beyond. We all share the same sentiments about this special place and game.
Have you achieved any of your original goals?
One of our goals is to expand the course to 36 holes, thereby having two 18-hole courses, and also find areas in the park for more courses. Currently, we only have one course in Philadelphia but we are looking to work with Parks and Recreation for another suitable area to install a brand new course. The sport has grown incredibly in the last few years that another course is absolutely necessary, as there are just way too many people to accommodate them all at Sedgley Woods.
Is it difficult to attract more volunteers?
As a volunteer organization, it is an ongoing challenge to get people to come out and volunteer. We usually have a second Saturday workday every month in which we’ll get anywhere from 20 to 30 people to come out to work on various projects. I encourage people interested to check out our Facebook page, or visit sedgleywoods.com
What do you want people to get out of trying disc golf?
I want for all the people who come here to have a great time walking in the woods, throwing discs, having fun and feeling welcomed. It’s great to see a person practice and improve to eventually join us in our many competitive rounds, held three times a week all year long. There are many competitive tournaments throughout the year, including our famous “Philly Open” held in early April every year.
What organizations, if any, do you partner with?
Some of our invaluable partners and allies who help us are the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit champions of the parks, the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Both have so generously helped us out with grant money and their “Love Your Park” service days. Sedgley Woods has benefited immensely from the hard-working, dedicated people from both these organizations.
What would you say to encourage a person to try disc golf?
To anyone reading this and wanting to try disc golf, come on out and meet the Friends of Sedgley and we will be happy to show you why disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports and Sedgley Woods is such a special place.
– Text and images by Andrew Salciunas and Joseph Williams