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Lighting up the fairway

With golfing at night, lost balls are a given. With disc golf, there is no such issue.

Glowing discs will fill the air 7 p.m. Friday at Easterlin Park in Oakland Park, in an activity new to the area and designed to take advantage of the growing popularity of disc golf. (Frisbee is a brand name, but don't smack yourself in the head if you call it "Frisbee golf." You're normal.)

Easterlin Park manager Bri-Ann Wright suggested night disc golf after seeing the park filled with players during the daytime.

"But it's neat at night to see the lights flying through the air," she says.

The park provides lights for the tee pads and the baskets so players can see their targets. Players can either buy a glow disc or buy lights to put on the disc's underside.

The first outing, in November, drew 51 players, Wright says. The game is similar to regular golf.

"The only difference is no ball and no stick," says Jeremy Rogers, a park volunteer and regular player. "And you throw the disc into a metal basket. It's a full 18-hole course."

For Friday's event, players will be paired via blind draw into teams of two, and they'll play the best shot each time. So inexperienced players will have a chance to get bailed out if they unleash an errant toss. It takes about 90 minutes to two hours to cover the course, Rogers says.

Kathy Diebold says she has been playing for eight years, and her doctor endorses the game to keep her blood pressure down.

"You get a lot of exercise, especially, if you're bad at it," she says. "You're twisting, bending over and walking. Par on a hole is 3, but it might take me 10."

Other players provide her with encouragement, she says.

"You're just automatically part of the group," Diebold says. "You meet doctors, lawyers and the poor and everybody in between."

Friday's outing is a fundraiser for God's Little Acres charity, a farm in Coconut Creek that provides activities for children with terminal illnesses and other challenges. Players are encouraged to bring either an unwrapped toy for children ages 3 to 12 or $10 to donate to the charity. The donations will be used for a holiday party

The park charges players $5 in advance, $8 on the night of the event. Minimum age is 13, and those under 17 must have a parent or guardian present. Call 954-357-5190.

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