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We are engaged in redesign of a local course and I thought it might be nice to share a series of blog posts about it.

Brown Park was a near-downtown Ann Arbor city park with 18 holes with a large and devoted following of disc golfers. In 2006, after about 15 years of use, the disc golf course was removed (temporarily) due to the Washtenaw County Drain Commission need to reconfigure the entire park so that it did a better job of allowing polluted sediments to settle out in a manner that could be regularly removed, as it performed its primary function as a '100-Year Flood' safety valve on Mallet's Creek.

Here is a map of the course and park as it was before the park was reconfigured.


Note that the holes definitely lost to the park reconfiguration are 15-18, 13, and likely 12 and 14, but we're not positive about that yet. The area defined by 15-18 is where most of the work was done and an image of the changes to that area, showing the potential for a ring of holes bringing water into play should be evident in this next image.

During the past two years, the park has been renamed Mary Beth Doyle Park, in honor of a deceased Ann Arborite who was a leader in the Natural Area Preservation (NAP) movement. What had been a large pond in one end of the park has now become a smaller pond with a serpentine stream that meanders throughout much of the park, inside an area that forms a large bowl to contain flood waters when there is a lot of rain. It has also been reconfigured as a wildlife habitat.

Here is an illustration of the area that previously mostly fell inside the outer fairway edges of Holes 15-18. It's sort of a close-up of the new configuration of that area, as opposed to the course map, above.


The park is surrounded by residential area, some of which is low-income in nature. One of the initial motivations for the disc golf course was to increase individual use of the park and create a more secure feeling for potential park users. It has a basketball court, a playground, a small parking lot, some woods being restored to their natural beauty, the water and related scenery, and the disc golf course.

The park was re-opened on June 1, but the disc golf course has not yet been replaced. The city would like to get at least 9 holes of it back into the ground by August. In a series of trade-offs, the disc golf course can use some wooded and open areas it had not previously used, it is losing one or two holes that the natural area preservation people want to bring into their fold, and it gains a number of potential holes with water hazards - something that it did not have before.

We are waiting for the city to provide us an up to date aerial photograph to work with, and beginning to understand that we have the opportunity to completely reconfigure the course - even to the point of none of the original holes staying the same. Since a few of the previous holes had some serious drainage and mud issues, and with the exception of Holes 8 and 15, the original course was pretty much a pitch and putt, albeit a beloved one, the new course can not only be more varied (water holes) but more challenging. The city has also agreed that we will be able to install two sets of tee pads on each hole, as well.

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Tags: Ann Arbor, Brown Park, Mary Beth Doyle Park, Michigan, course design, design, new course

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Comment by glane on August 25, 2008 at 12:18pm
despite your busy schedule... please send word
Comment by Peter Kunoff on August 8, 2008 at 3:19pm
terry, any pre-world updates on brown park????.... just watched a technique piece on an old Disc Golf Live video with Mike Raley demonstrating the basics of the backhand throw......was nice seeing hole 16(the old brown park) several years back. Got me pumped up for the return of brown park!!! same episode had a old recap of an ace race at brown.

now if i could consistently reach back high and "pull my disc across a board straight" then I will be happy!!!
Comment by glane on August 6, 2008 at 1:01pm
when?
Comment by stevo on June 11, 2008 at 3:36pm
yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Comment by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun on June 11, 2008 at 8:44am
We will get 18.
Comment by stevo on June 11, 2008 at 8:26am
it would be great,if somehow we can get 18 holes back.
Comment by Peter Kunoff on June 10, 2008 at 4:36pm
thanks for the update

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