The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

If your town is managing disc golf by trying to eliminate it, here is your opportunity to share your story. You may want to look at the other discussion posted on this club page regarding success stories, and see how they may be incorperated into your town.

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I am writing a paper on disc golf management as it relates to local park districts. For the past few years, my hometown (billings, mt) has gone back and forth on this issue. At the heart of the issue is a course located in Pioneer Park, which is a popular, fairly heavily used, centraly located park.

Neighbors have complained about trespass, property damage, and late night games, city park officials are complaining about the wear and tear to the trees and grass, the parks department also wonders if a disc constitutes a "projectile" since there is a city ordinance baning projectiles in city parks. Another issue regarding the course is whether a disc golf couse is compatible with the parks master plan which was written in the 1980's and has not been updated since. Ultimately the future of the course lies in the future update of the parks master plan

Some neighbors are suggesting moving the course to a less used park, but the city cites the lack of funds to move course.

some city counsel and park board members want the course removed, while others see the value of providing a constructive activity for youth.
You might want to contact the PDGA and see if you can get a list of defunct courses. I'm sure many of them were taken out due to similar issues. The two courses I'm most familiar with that are defunct were on private land and that would seem to be outside of your focus.

I ran a disc golf course for a municipality. The biggest problem I had was the issue of profitability for programming. The PDGA payout system has disc golfers expecting awards that increase with the size of the field. In other sports that a municipal parks & recreation department would typically run, the payout is static. So, for example if you run a successful softball tournament that attracts a lot of teams, you as the host agency make a lot more money on the event. In disc golf using the PDGA payout system, if you run a successful tournament with lots of players the majority of that extra money goes back to the players in the payout. The disc golf community has developed around an idea that any money we spend has to stay inside our group, so a tournament where the profits go into a park general fund is bad. This system takes all the incentive away from the municipality to run quality programming. As a result, most municipalities just let a Club run all the events. The time of the parks & recreation staff is more cost effectively spent elsewhere.

Since the staff has no responsibility for the programming, they don't get to know and appreciate the users of the course. Because they are never used for programming, the facilities are often overlooked by the parks & recreation department. Because of this, most municipalities that have courses only deal with the negatives like the stolen basket, the neighbor complaints and the environmental impact. The positives (events where the course is jammed with players and the work days where improvements are made) are enjoyed by the Club. All of this makes many parks & recreation agencies pretty non-committal about disc golf. It generates no income but DOES generate complaints, so when push comes to shove many municipal agencies would just as soon see the course go.


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