To help fill in available afternoon tee times, the Recreation and Park District of Estes Park, Colo. has created a hybrid course where the disc golf goals are positioned near the existing greens for the golf course. “We saw [disc golf] as the logical choice to make the best use of available space while providing something fun and active, especially for attracting a younger player,” said Manager of Golf Services Mark Miller.
The Estes Valley Recreation and Park District (EVPRD) of Estes Park, Colo. announced the addition of a disc golf course at the Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course, the Estes Park Trail Gazette reported, as an expansion initiative to fill in available tee times in the afternoon.
The course is one of only a few hybrid courses in Colorado combining traditional and disc golf together on one playground, the Trail Gazette reported. “We saw an opportunity to provide a new recreational sport on the nine-hole course,” said Mark Miller, Manager of Golf Services for EVRPD. “With the rising popularity of disc golf, we thought it was a logical choice to make the best use of the available space while providing something fun and active.
The Estes Park golf courses—the EVRPD also manages the Estes Park 18-Hole Golf Course, which will celebrate its 100thyear in 2019—have seen revenue growth over the last few years, the Trail Gazette reported. The Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course saw a six percent increase in revenue from 2015 to 2018, and the Estes Park 18-Hole Golf Course saw a 1.8 percent revenue increase for the same timeframe.
Disc golf has grown in popularity since the first course opened in 1975. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, there are more than 6,300 disc golf courses in the U.S., and the association’s membership increased almost 13 percent from 2017 to 2018.
“We saw disc golf as an ideal solution to the challenges [currently facing the golf industry], especially for attracting a younger player,” Miller said. “By placing this game on the nine-hole course rather than the 18-hole, we overcome the challenge of length of time. And a round of disc golf takes much less time to complete than traditional golf. The cost is also substantially lower at only $5 per player.”
For the setup of the hybrid course, the Trail Gazette reported, the disc golf goals have been positioned near, but not on, the existing greens of the nine-hole golf course, so the new game will not interfere with regular golf.
The Estes Park course had a soft opening from April 1 to April 12, with play starting daily at 9 a.m. and tee times not required during that period, the Trail Gazette reported. The course is then scheduled to be closed for annual maintenance from April 13 to May 9, to prepare the greens for summer play.
The course will reopen on Friday, May 10 for the 2019 summer season, when disc golf play will start daily at noon and tee times will be encouraged, the Trail Gazette reported.
Discs are available to borrow at the Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course or players may bring their own, the Trail Gazette reported. Season passholders for Estes Park Golf Courses have the added bonus of playing disc golf at no additional charge.
As another indication of the growing popularity of disc golf in Colorado, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the new disc golf course at Cheyenne Mountain State Park proved to be popular with the public even before it officially opened.
“It’s been getting quite a bit of use,” Park Manager Mitchell Martin told the Gazette. While the official opening of the new disc course coincided with a March 1 press release issued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Martin said the course, built last fall and located adjacent to the park’s Meadow Campground that has been closed during winter, nonetheless attracted players.
“People would park at the nearby Camper Service building and walk down to the course,” he said. “They just wanted to get in there and play.”
The course at Cheyenne Mountain State Park is the latest addition to a collection of about a half-dozen disc golf courses in the Pikes Peak region, the Gazette reported.
“Adding a disc golf course to our list of recreational activities at the park was an idea that we had been talking about for the last six to eight years,” Martin said. “The biggest problem was finding a footprint for it, to actually put in something that didn’t interfere with any of the other activities or natural resources, such as the prairie dog town and that sort of thing.
“We came up with the idea of incorporating it into one our campgrounds, Meadow Campground, which had the most space available,” Martin added. “Then last year, we hired a temporary park ranger—Jimmy Alexander—who was also into disc golf and had quite a bit of experience playing it.
“He had contacts for equipment and materials so we could price-shop those things, and he was able to lay out a course, based on his experience.
The nine-hole course at Cheyenne Mountain State Park was constructed over a period of about a month last fall, the Gazette reported.
“It didn’t take too long,” Martin said. “We had it laid out in a couple of weeks, then ordered equipment and installed it. Constructing the tee-off boxes, putting in some gravel, then adding baskets took a few weeks longer.
“Right now, you have to bring your own discs,” Martin added about the Cheyenne Mountain course. “Our intention is that in the future we will have some discs for rent, so people who are camping will see the course and then be able to play.”
The park’s course is mostly flat and lightly wooded, and features a total length of 2,154 yards, the Gazette reported. Seven of the holes are rated at par three, while two—the 397-yard seventh and 330 -yard ninth—are par fours.
For the serious disc golf player, discs that mimic the functions of golf clubs can now be purchased at specialty stores, the Gazette reported. For example, discs designed for “putting,” for long-distance “fairway driving,” and for all-around, “mid-range” driving are available. Most discs are smaller than the standard size Frisbee, and some feature beveled edges and a weight distribution that make them fly differently in certain situations—either slow and stable for “putting,” or longer distances for “fairway drives.”
Regular Frisbees can also be used to play “frolf,” a freeform game that is a combination of golf and Frisbee and sometimes likened to “Calvinball,” a reference to the comic strip in which Calvin and Hobbes make up the rules as they go, the Gazette reported.
Because the disc course is located on state park grounds, either an $8 daily fee, an annual $80 pass or a $70 Aspen Leaf pass for seniors is necessary to access the course, the Gazette reported.