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I've been curious about how courses get made.  Has anyone actually ever been involved in  the planning and production of a course?

Tags: Design, course, disc, golf

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I'm building one now and It's a lot of hard work; satisfying work, but hard. You need money, land, permission to use this land (assuming most course are built in public settings), lots of workers (need people who know how to chop down trees, pour cement, etc...), need a good course design, and lots of time. All these points just stretch the surface of what I have been doing. I started this thing in 2008 and It's finally going to be playable this summer. 

Hope I answered your question

My friend built one on his campsite and the mowing is the most costly part of maintaining one. When building a course I would try to equal out the dog leg lefts and rights

Just installed one ..... rural course on a rural 9 hole ball course .....   mostly open fairways with 60 sheep on the property ... we got 18 in on about 30 acres ... working well as there aren't many ball golfers either ... maybe 20  playing every once in a while.  ... our 1st 4 holes cover their first hole. ... they have the right of way so we let them go ahead so we don't get whacked on the head .... the ball golfers mow the fairways which we use and the sheep keep the rough down,which we use as fairways also ..... it's an all tonal course so cheap to put in on a gulf island in the salish sea up here on the west coast of canada. ..... played it after the install and because of all the trim fairways no lost discs and played it out in 1.5hrs.  .... sheep shit hollow.

I live in Fort Dodge, Iowa - a relatively small town of about 25,000 that is home to one of the first 25 courses ever built in the United States - Snell-Crawford Park Disc Golf Course.  (If I knew the 1970's hippie who decided to export disc golf directly from California to Tourist Park in Cedar Falls, IA, I would personally thank him many times over).

 

Last Fall, I ran a small Ace Race, which somehow caught the attention of two local press publications, the local Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department as well as a member of the Iowa State Senate who contacted me to draft rough cost-projection proposals and benefits of building a disc golf course at Brushy Creek State Park.

 

Anyone can run an Ace Race - in fact, if you have the intellect and organizational skills - you can top that if you live in a small area by looking over Innova's course development prices and make player packs through them.  That's what I have done this year for our cities' inaugural Disc Golf Course Development Fundraiser Tournament, which will help replace the 35+ year old baskets at our local course.

Basically, running an Ace Race by knowing how to read and use the internet got me a job growing disc golf and getting paid to play it, running leagues and tournaments and all that fun stuff.  However, the downside is dealing with bureaucracy.  At the outset of this endeavor I was signed on contract with the Parks Dept. as a consultant, serving as the liaison between what players want and the clueless city officials, as well as between the city and Innova.

 

Before having the job, my personal contacts with Innova's east coast offices were amazing - laid back; their willingness to exceed every expectation to help me get my local course restored was great - I had access to the full order sheet at a flat $6 price - that included all CFR discs, some real gems that could have raised a lot of money for us, especially since the department received an $18,000+ grant from the Governors' office for local Parks growth and development, much of that based off of proposals I drew up as a volunteer.

 

After a break in planning over Winter, the funding that was told to me was going towards disc golf had gone - it had now become a ground up fundraiser with limited capital to purchase discs to sell to raise money.

Days later, it is announced that the Parks departments' annual 'Shellabration' event held at an old bandshell has lined up Foreigner to play....

Surely this event will raise funds - but not for the department.  Unfortunately that is bureaucracy.  As for the cost projections proposed on a state level, bureaucracy is clamping that down at a standstill to the point it is no longer wrth it to ask for updates.  Turns out the Government grants thrown to local parks were there because funding towards State parks was basically torched.

Rewarding but frustrating, hope it's worth it in the end.

The answer is....

Well, there is one answer to "how courses get made".

Probably most common is that someone approaches a parks department and convinces them that a disc golf course would be good use of land they already have.  With luck they get it in the park budget.   Someone must design it---hopefully a qualified designer, too frequently not.  Work depends on the condition of the land at the start, and how much the parks department is willing to do; if the local players must do it, it's a ton of work.

I could tell you more than you've ever want to know about 2 guys buying some land and building a private course themselves.   I also know of courses installed on commercial property, golf courses, state parks, farms.....dozens of variations on "how a course gets made".

Is there something behind this question, other than pure curiousity?

Absolutely right.  A local chiropractor came to the department and asked if he could buy some baskets and simply use park space in a low traffic park. 

 

Of course, they said yes.  The course was an absolute abomination.  Now all the baskets have been stolen, and the parks department held up their end.

I have gone into tirades about how terrible this course was before, so I don't want to work myself up elaborating any further.

 

I will say to people looking into building courses, look into Innova's course building brochures and do more research and make sure you know what disc golfers want and make sure you take all variables into account when location shopping:  Other park activity and the traffic from that, proximity to bodies of water and elevation changes - major erosion causes, proximity to roads, etc.

It's not like it was 10 or 20 or 30 years ago.  There's a wealth of good design information on the internet.  Most places disc golf is established enough that there should be some experienced designers, or very experienced disc golfers, to rely on.   If not, and if the parks department is involved, they should really budget it for professional design.

I think that getting through the bureaucracy to actually get a piece of land to develop is probably the biggest hurdle. That is where we are right now in Colorado Springs. We have been holding meetings to discuss possible sites for courses but as of yet we don't have the land in hand. So we just keep getting the word out and talking to people at the City. Our goal BTW is to get five new courses in the next three years. We also want a championship level course that will draw people here. We'll see what happens.

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