Destroyer Park Golf – Akron, New York - Atlas Obscura

Akron, New York

Destroyer Park Golf

A masked wrestling legend has opened the first U.S. course devoted to a meditative Japanese golf variant. 

Since retiring from professional wrestling, the Destroyer has gone from swinging neckbreakers to swinging golf clubs on a unique course that bears his name.

During his illustrious career, Dick Beyer entertained wrestling fans the world over as the mysterious masked wrestler, the Destroyer. It was during his tours in Japan that Beyer was first exposed to the sport of park golf.

Park golf is a uniquely Japanese sport. At first glance, it may seem similar to traditional golf, but it has simpler rules and only one club is used. What is most essential to park golf is a philosophy of harmony between people and nature. Although there are tournaments, competitiveness is downplayed and camaraderie with fellow players is encouraged. Park golf is played on smaller courses, usually in parks, hence its name. Courses are made to look as natural as possible.  

Beyer’s connection to Japan is strong. His wrestling persona is credited as being the first Western wrestler to “get over” in Japan, which in wrestling parlance means to earn popularity with fans. Beyer’s work fostering good relations between the East and West through sport has earned him one of the highest honors in Japan, the Order of the Rising Sun. His introduction of park golf to the United States can be seen as a continuation of his goodwill efforts.

In 2013, Beyer founded Destroyer Park Golf in his hometown of Akron, New York. The course is fully sanctioned by the Nihon Park Golf Association. Destroyer Park Golf also houses a museum devoted to Beyer’s wrestling career. The man himself can often be seen at his course, wearing his trademark Destroyer mask, greeting visitors, and sharing stories of his days in the squared circle.

Know Before You Go

The village of Akron is located in Erie County within the Buffalo-Niagra Falls metropolitan area. Destroyer Park Golf is at the crossroads of County Road and Sand Hill Road.