People of different ages trying out the sport. Photo by Juliana Luna.
People of different ages trying out the sport. Photo by Juliana Luna.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

Vista Park Hill is the tallest peak of Hollister with 180-degree views from city lights to mountain ranges. Nine disc golf holes are scattered on the hill to enjoy, providing different vantage points from which to take in the views. On July 23, disc golf players will compete in the park’s first disc golf tournament from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. as part of Hollister’s 150th birthday celebration. 

Winners from the three divisions will get a custom-made 150th birthday disc. All players will be given a gift bag with items to commemorate Hollister’s 150th anniversary. The event is organized by the San Benito County Disc Golf Club.

The first features of a disc golf course secretly began to appear on the side of the hill. Robin Pollard of Hollister brought disc golf to Vista Park Hill in 2021 without following regular city procedures. The golf course eventually got the thumbs up from the city. 

Pollard said she wanted to change the public’s opinion of the park, noting that many residents often think of the hill to be “dark and dangerous.” She said she hoped by setting up a local disc golf, it might attract families and bring life into the park.

A 2007 state inspection found the park to be hazardous, which led to the removal of playground equipment, except for two swings. Former management services director Mike Chambless said the lack of facilities led to a drop in public attendance and an increase in criminal activity. In December 2014 the Hollister City Council approved funds and a grant to buy playground equipment for the park.

Now the park has swings and playground equipment. 

Using pandemic stimulus money received from the federal government, Pollard provided disc golf baskets and along the way met C.R Gonzales, director of the disc golf club.

“Robin was gracious enough to buy the baskets and we put in the sweat equity,” said Gonzales.

Pollard, Gonzales and other locals volunteered to create a nine-hole course plus a hiking trail.

“I pretty much tell anyone that I see to try it,” said Gonzales. “It’s a little bit different from regular frisbee, but most people get hooked on it.”

Gonzales said the best thing about playing disc golf at Vista Park Hill was the cost of playing at the park.

“It’s free, it’s for every economic class,” he said.

Whether preparing for the tournament or simply hanging out, players met at the practice hole on July 1.

Christian Dwayne Anderson, who has played disc golf for 10 years, signed up for the upcoming tournament.

“My hope is to have fun,” he said. 

He compared the sport with hiking. “Like hiking but with a purpose, more fun,” he said. “It gets you out there to exercise.” 

School teacher Gabriel Talavera has disc golfed in Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

“Wherever I go, I try to find a course to play,” he said. Talavera found his passion for the sport back in 2001 while attending CSU-Monterey Bay.

He now teaches third grade at Cerra Vista. Word of the new disc golf course at Vista Park Hill prompted him to tell his students to visit the course. 

During a physical education class, Talavera introduced disc golf to his students.

“A lot of them ask me where they can play, and I pointed them to here,” he said.


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