“Disc-overing” Disc Golf

Another option is simply to ask around. In Geneva, Drach came into contact with Gavin Sacks, a professor at a local university, through discussions at a neighborhood association meeting. He grew up near several courses, and in subsequent years had not lost his enthusiasm for the game. He and a few other local disc golfers were thrilled to hear there was an opportunity to establish a course in their backyard.

A Trial Balloon

Drach and Sacks agreed to first establish a temporary course to gauge community interest and evaluate the appropriateness of the site. Sacks reached out to regional disc-golf clubs in Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester.

Through these contacts, the club was able to borrow portable disc-golf baskets for a weekend event as well as secure volunteers to help prepare the course. Several local businesses donated prizes and gifts for the weekend, and Drach and the recreation department assisted by promoting the event and loaning supplies.

Course Design: Trust The Pros

The next step was to design the course. Historically, disc-golf courses were designed by park officials or local players with little design experience. In many cases, this led to courses that lacked challenge or variety, and in the worst cases led to environmental damage or dangerous playing conditions.

The PDGA has recently begun a certification process for disc-golf designers, a list of whom can be found online. In Geneva, Sacks contacted Pat Govang, a certified designer living in Ithaca.

Govang considered several features during design. Two sets of tee pads were included to ensure the course would challenge a range of skills. To limit damage to the bird-friendly cattail marshes, the areas were declared “out-of-bounds,” and paths were created at regular intervals to minimize disturbances.

Similarly, golf holes were routed to avoid areas with a high density of woodchuck holes. To avoid a busy road on the north and a walking path on the south, holes were designed so players would be throwing towards the center of the course.

Finally, “blind” shots into walking paths were avoided so existing passive-recreation activities like dog-walking would not be disturbed.

Political “Disc-ourse”

The temporary course event was held in August 2011. More than 100 people from the community and nearby cities came out to play, including several community leaders and city council members. The publicity surrounding the event gave Sacks an opportunity to speak with individuals and local businesses interested in sponsoring a permanent course.

Drach, Sacks, and the Geneva Disc Golf Club (GDGC) used the 6 months following the temporary course event to prepare a proposal to city council to install a more permanent course at Lakefront Park.

The following points were stressed during a city council presentation in April 2012:

•The course would provide a fun, inexpensive recreational opportunity for both the Geneva community and visitors.

• No monetary support would be requested. Course materials could be purchased entirely through sponsorships by individuals and businesses, and several sponsors had already been identified.

• Existing land uses would not be affected, and the course could be readily removed and then re-installed. Passive recreation, like dog-walking, would not be affected. The baskets and tee signs would be installed on lockable sleeves so they could be pulled when the space was used for other events.

• Significant alterations to the area would not occur, and no additional work would be created for the Department of Public Works (DPW). Baskets and tees would be positioned so as not to interfere with routine DPW maintenance, and the GDGC would assist in maintaining the area.

Throwing Around Cash

The proposed course was unanimously approved, and the GDGC shifted its focus to fundraising. The total budget for the 12-hole course was $6,800, which included basket targets, tee pads, tee signs, and a message board.

Some funds were raised from private donors, but the majority was raised from local businesses through $350 “tee sign sponsorships.” In addition to the sponsors who had already committed to the course during the temporary course event, attracting additional sponsors was facilitated by stressing that the sponsorship would last for the lifetime of the aluminum tee signs (5+ years).

Course installation began in May 2012, with GDGC volunteers collaborating with city employees to dig post holes, set baskets and signs in concrete, and lay down rubber matting for tee pads. The grand opening for the course was slightly more than a year after initial discussions between Drach and Sacks.

Throughout the summer of 2012, up to 50 players a day used the course on some weekends, and the owner of the local hobby shop reported selling more than 400 golf discs in the 5 months after the course opened.

The Secrets To “Disc-overing” Success

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page

Related posts:

  1. A Disc-Golf Course In The Woods
  2. A Disc Golf Course In The Woods
  3. Driving Home The Point
  4. Disc-Golf Course Design
  5. Family Fun To Serious Sport
  • Columns
  • Departments