The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

What is the best way to approch a park about getting a course built? This park has shot the idea down before. I beleive it was property owners adjacent to the park. I have no problem talking to city or county gov. but would like to be armed with many facts and be able to answer their questions. thanks.

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You need to point out the government officials the benefits of the course... yeah, yeah, yeah, you and your friends get to play :-) BUT there are benefits to most parks...

1 - Opens up new people to visit their park (most parks earn $$ based on number of people that are using it)
2 - Cheap way to offer a new park activity
3 - Innova has a great suggestion page (http://www.innovadiscs.com/coursedesign/index.html)
4 - Don't forget that disc golf is a lifetime sport (even older people can play)... my dad of 60+ just started playing and plays two times per week

There are a few suggestions. By no means am I an expert...
Good stuff. Thanks a bunch! Wish me luck.
I live next to a disc golf course here in colorado, and have enjoyed the course immensly. I am trying to form a groupf of golfers and park neighbors to improve//stabilize the relationships between those two groups. Like I said I am a player/neighbor and want everybody to be happy. I do know of a couple of the neighbors that are not happy with the golfers, and yes there are good ones and bad ones, it's the bad ones that cause us all problems. I would like to address these problems with my group. So Jake join my group-Community Relations and maybe we can help each other. There is a local club that works on the course all the time, and I am trying to get in touch with the leaders of that group. Let me know what you think about my group...
We've had several meetings wih our local government as well,

One of the other clubs posted a Power Point Presentation on the PDGA message board. It's slightly dated but I can send you a copy if you wish.
Getting a course built in a public park is usually not a slam dunk, as you have found. We're about to open the first course in my town, with two more in the park planning stage. I have the cooperation of th Parks and Rec staff because I have volunteered time to the parks program and to youth sports groups over the course of several years. Parks officials listen more closely to people with requests who have shown they are willing to give, not just receive.

To lay this groundwork you could offer to teach disc golf clinics to the summer recreation programs. EDGE had great instructional materials, videos and supplies. Ask the parks staff about running a disc golf event in the park using portable baskets or object targets and gear the event towards beginning players, not Pros or Ams looking for prizes. An Ice Bowl would be a great way to start. These types of activities build your player base and gives disc golf a lager footprint in the community. Parks staff are the stewards of the public's land, and they want to make sure that the public's land is put to good use. Find ways to give them examples of how disc golf is good for your community - not just for you and your disc golfing friends.

Good luck and don't give up. I have spent 10 years working on my projects. Ask the folks in San Francisco how tough their task was (Golden Gate Park's course opened this year and is fantastic!). It's hard work, but worth it!
Come on up to the Twin Cities and I'll show you how to do it!!!
Actually, Brad hit on the secret. You need to offer the decision makers the opportunity to ask the pertinent questions: How much is it going to cost? How will it be laid out? How many trees will be cut down? Who plays this 'game'? Where do the players get their supplies? Who is going to do the design? What are the design parameters that are used? Is it safe??? ...Put yourself in their shoes and be anticipating any and all questions.

The local neighbors will be there in force because 'their park' has been a sanctuary in their back yard for many years (possibly), their kids grew up biking through there, etc. The N.I.M.B.Y. syndrome (Not In My Back Yard) is rampant throughout the disc golf community (and is currently holding one park I'm working on in a state of flux because the park commissioners don't have the backbone to make a decision that would benefit the ENTIRE area). Sometimes reminding the commissioners that the course would benefit neighbors from all over the community is enough. Other times it helps to have the commissioner's constituents that are fellow disc golfers and others, (aside for the NIMBYs), present at the meeting to boulster your position of disc golf for the community, by the community, and in the community.

Sometimes the park personnel need more validation of the sport. Find some studies done by disc golfers that support your position of reducing vandalism, reduced trash, reduced vagrancy and unwanted behavior in the parks once a disc golf course is installed.

...and remember to be nice.

Yes please!!
Thanks to all!!

Written By: Bill Ashton

Do you have an interest in Disc Golf, but don't have a course in your hometown or city? I'm hear to tell you with a little dedication and good organizational skills you can spearhead a disc golf course project in your area and propose a course to your local park department. It's that easy! Over the past 30 years, I have successfully helped to establish a total of thirteen courses within the state of Minnesota by merely contacting local park departments. Every course project was a unique challenge and I certainly look forward to continuing my interest for promoting and designing even more disc golf courses here in Minnesota.

One advantage of securing an interest with your local park department is to show a local interest or form a group willing to get a Disc Golf Course organized. Now that the sport of Disc Golf has been around for over 30 years, most park departments have some sort of knowledge about the sport. So today, it's become more popular and recognizable as a beneficial recreation for park departments to offer within their park systems.

In my course development experiences here in Minnesota, I feel most of the park departments I personally worked with however, lacked experience and knowledge in terms of implementing and designing a course. I've also noticed that some park departments struggle with knowing which type of parks worked best for a course. I would almost bet there are probably some park departments out their today that are interested in getting a course, but don't quite know how to go about getting the project started and facilitated. So this is where course designers or course promoters such as myself can step into the picture nowadays and get involved with organizing a course. Even a person with a local interest can begin to pursue and propose a course to your local park department. You certainly don't need to be a qualified course designer to get a course installed. You just simply need the interest and desire to want to organize a course in your area. If you are interested in learning more about course design, I would suggest looking into joining the yahoo online discussion group called the Disc Golf Course Designers Group. This is an excellent medium to discuss and learn aspects of course design by dedicated players and organizers from around the country that are working to establish courses in their areas.

It helps to be a resident of the town or city your trying to propose a course, but it's not necessary. I have worked with several communities in which I wasn't a resident of the community, so don't let that stop you from getting a course started. Some of you may have the perfect park in mind all ready. If you do and your interested in pursuing the idea, you'll need to determine if the park is recognized as a city, county or state park in order to direct your focus to the appropriate municipality that would consider your proposal for disc golf. All city, county and state park departments each have their own offices and departments to coordinate and deal with new proposals. City parks can vary in size and you usually need to work around other park activities such as baseball, soccer fields or even tennis courts come to mind. County Parks are generally larger parks and have much more space, so there's a lot of potential with creating a course if you discover the right county park. The possibilities are endless no matter what type of park. There are literally over 2000 courses worldwide and each of them have a uniqueness in their own particular variety of landscapes. I know for myself, I love to seek out new courses and compare them to others I've played. By playing different courses you can also analyze and review how other courses were designed to get a feel for laying out a course in your area. Be observant on what you liked about a certain hole and how the fairway played a particular way. What worked? What obstacles were present? Make some mental notes.

If you decide to take the steps toward approaching a park department about a course, you'll want to contact your local community park director. Generally speaking, park directors will be able to tell you whether or not disc golf is a viable recreational program in terms of implementing an actual course within their park system. If you receive a positive response back from the park director, be prepared to give a brief presentation explaining and describing the sport of disc golf. You can easily research and gather information on the internet today to help you with providing support material. You could even set up an appointment with your local park director to play and walk through an actual disc golf course (where available). This would provide a great on-site visual perspective and be an excellent selling point. It would also allow the park director an ability to see a course first hand. I can't think of any better way for the park director to get excited about Disc Golf. What an ideal and effective way for them to go back and talk with other staff members positively about Disc Golf. Another interesting note to mention in regards to visiting an actual course, is that the park director will not only actually visualize how active the course is, but they'll be able to gauge some demographics as well by viewing an analyzing play during the walk through.

Once a park director is interested in getting a Disc Golf course project going, they'll establish dialog on the topic within their monthly park board meetings to determine whether this would be an appropriate recreation within their park system. In order to get the disc literally flying, disc golf must first be put on the park boards agenda and master plan. From there, discussion pertaining to Disc Golf is reviewed by the park board. Typically park departments have master plans for each of their parks, so you'll need approval to move forward and get the project onboard. Once a park department approves the idea of implementing a course within their park plans, it can generally take anywhere from six months to a year or possibly even longer depending on the master plan for the park before a course is actually installed. So don't get discouraged. Your sweat and passion for a course will eventually come to fruition. Your dream of a course can soon become a reality.

I know I believe in the sport of disc golf and I find it to be one of the most appealing and cost effective recreational activities that a park department can offer today. It allows all age groups to participate and it can be a family recreation as well. For those that play disc golf, I would say most love it! So as the sport grows, so will those that want to help get new courses. Anyone with an interest and desire for getting a course installed, can really make it happen. I say grab some initiative and go for it! Looking back, I can't begin to tell you how many people have played on the courses I've helped establish, but I know that it would be a tremendous amount of people. It's rewarding in a personal way to know that I've helped to establish disc golf as a recreation within many Minnesota communities. I am certainly proud of those accomplishments. It's just a great feeling to know that I've played a part in so many peoples enjoyment throughout the years. That my friends is priceless.

Bill Ashton
Roc Solid Design
MFA #425
PDGA #2747
DGCD #67
That's another good point Boom Boom which has worked for me too. My actual first DGA Mach III Course was sold to Highland Park - St. Paul back in 1987 in which I invited a council member and the SuperIntendant of St. Paul Park and Recreation to do a walk through of the park I had in mind. They were quite impressed and ordered and installed a course in the summer of 1988.

I have a meeting scheduled this Tuesday as well (Jan. 29) with my 14th potential course project. I'm meeting with two council members, local park director and city manager. The most interesting thing about this new project was that I received a referral from the two individuals I worked with on a past course project that heard their city was interested in getting a course. So it appears they have people in place wanting a course, but just don't know how to figure out which park will work best or how to design a course. So I'm hoping I can close the deal on this new project.

Disc Golf Rocs!

Bill Ashton
Can you post the power point here on this forum please
in our area, the best approach seems to be the Matching Funds approach, but be ready to itemize the cost of your labor etc, I think the PDGA has a template for use, contact them as well
also, we are just starting to reap the rewards of the Barnett Shale natural gas reserves, in fact I spoke with two course designers this week that has been told by the respective cities that gas money is coming in and they will get a share of it, one of which is twenty grand for improvements

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