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Why do cities build disc golf courses?

wolito

* Ace Member *
Silver level trusted reviewer
Joined
Feb 21, 2009
Messages
2,516
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Why do cities consider building a disc golf course? What is their motivation? Many cities and park and recreation departments around the U.S. are running with limited funding. Why would they spend the money to design, build, fund and insure such projects that would cost them thousands of dollars and yet not even charge the general public to use them? I understand that they are multiple other activities that the rec departments support as well, with many of those having greater public recognition and attendance. I have never spoken with any rec department or city council members to hear what they think. No doubt I am extremely greatful for all the wonderful disc golf courses that are built throughout the U.S and that everyone else on this site could say the same thing. What are your thoughts on this? In particular those whom have had direct contact with the parks department or city governments please respond. Perhaps this could be a way to get ideas on what they think and how we as the disc golf community can support and encourage the development of other disc golf courses in the future.
 
Often wondered about that myself, considering that DG courses seem to attract more vandalism than other typical uses for park land. Don't get me wrong - for the most part, DG'ers are pretty chill. But you simply can't deny that waaaayyy too many tee signs, baskets and stuff get trashed. More so than swing sets, grills, and other stuff parks can install.

Never recall seeing a bike rider or skater smoking pot. Not that I have a major problem with it, but I'm guessing the local Parks and Rec office isn't all that happy about the how much pot gets smoked on courses.

I can see whay some communities would take a look at neighboring courses and say, "You want us to put $$$ into a disc golf course? Are you serious?"
 
Just think about the money to people enjoying the activity ratio. Say a basket ball court cost 75k to install and you can have like 15-20 people using it at 1 time. And then about a disc golf course maybe 10k to install with easy accommedating 90-100 players. BBcourt $3750 per player to enjoy or DG course $100 per player. These are just some random figures off my head but you get my point.
 
Often wondered about that myself, considering that DG courses seem to attract more vandalism than other typical uses for park land. Don't get me wrong - for the most part, DG'ers are pretty chill. But you simply can't deny that waaaayyy too many tee signs, baskets and stuff get trashed. More so than swing sets, grills, and other stuff parks can install.

Never recall seeing a bike rider or skater smoking pot. Not that I have a major problem with it, but I'm guessing the local Parks and Rec office isn't all that happy about the how much pot gets smoked on courses.

I can see whay some communities would take a look at neighboring courses and say, "You want us to put $$$ into a disc golf course? Are you serious?"

agreed:thmbup:
 
Quite simply, it's a big bang-for-the-buck activity. Compare a $12,000 course to a $40,000 basketball court or ball field and factor in the numbers of people who use each and there's your answer.
 
Plus, contrary to some belief, we keep the pervs and dirty dopers away. Also, you can put a DG course on some pretty unusable land, like say an old landfill, and make your park seem less pathetic.
 
It doesn't always cost the city money either. There are options such as hole sponsers from local businesses, fundraisers, local organizations that may sponser/donate funds, etc. As it has been stated, cost is low compared to other activities, maintenance is minimal. Also, if a course is decent, it will draw people into the community, especially if you can get a PDGA sanctioned tournament, then you have people coming into the city staying in motels, eating at restaurants, buying gas for their vehicles, etc...just some thoughts?!
 
Disc golf courses can also occupy land that isn't good for much else. You see a wooded steep hillside and I see 18 holes. Also the sheer traffic of a DG course will deter crimes from being committed despite what the stereotypes of discgolfers would have people to believe.


*edit*

Brother Dave sniped my post.

:reallysadsmilie:
 
Who says disc golfers are the vandals ??

And yes I know pot is illegal but the reality is that a few folks smoking weed in the park should be so far down on the list of things to be concerned about to be inconsequntial IMO.

Does anyone know about the history of the parks in your area ? I know Hammock Park in Dunedin was built and designed by Boy Scouts
 
Often wondered about that myself, considering that DG courses seem to attract more vandalism than other typical uses for park land. Don't get me wrong - for the most part, DG'ers are pretty chill. But you simply can't deny that waaaayyy too many tee signs, baskets and stuff get trashed. More so than swing sets, grills, and other stuff parks can install.

Never recall seeing a bike rider or skater smoking pot. Not that I have a major problem with it, but I'm guessing the local Parks and Rec office isn't all that happy about the how much pot gets smoked on courses.

I can see whay some communities would take a look at neighboring courses and say, "You want us to put $$$ into a disc golf course? Are you serious?"

Agreed. Besides, you never see anyone getting shot and killed at an inner-city DG course over an argument!:thmbup:
 
When "selling" courses, in addition to the band-for-the-buck, I always use the "uses park areas not suitable for other activities (fields, courts, etc.)" one.

Edit: zenbot sniped my post but his was sniped by Brother Dave. Cripes!
 
Disc golf courses also utilize park land that no other activity can use... You aren't building your basketball court, baseball, football or soccer field near the creek...

The city wants to encourage physical activity and disc golf does so at value pricing.

Do you have to mow and maintain? Yes
Do you have to mow and maintain as often as other facilities in your park? No!
Do you have to manicure your grass like in baseball or soccer? No!
Do you have your more mature citizens (i.e. - me) outdoors, in the park, getting healthy? Yes!

As far as park use at discount pricing... nothing beats disc golf.
 
There are few parks employees who see folks smoking; you think everyone fires up as soon as they see a lawn mower coming through? For those parks employees that do see this activity; you would be surprised how many are also same breed. I wish everyone would quit talking about the smoking aspect. This site is quickly becoming one of the most viewed disc golf sites in the country/world. All of the talk of smoking is simply going to give a police visitor ideas....

Disc golf courses bring huge numbers of park participants into the parks. This is not what all parks and rec want; but, for those that do; the sport fills up their park in ways that no other activity can. I am partially responsible for an @200 team softball complex. Obviously, we fill that place up; often seven fields deep; five nights a week. So, on many nights, we are providing services for @600 persons. However, from a staffing stand point, we must provide @20 persons each night, plus the support staff of the grounds crew, administrative persons at the main office, etc.

Many of our local disc courses are seeing numbers per day that are nearly the same; and it's year round; while softball is only @6 months. No staff is needed for disc; expect for park's maintenance staff (and the park would be maintained regardless of disc in most cases). A disc course costs @20,000 to install (worst case scenario). Think of the cost of the lighting and field grading, and building concessions area, scoreboards, etc., that goes in to building and periodically upgrading a softball complex.

The numbers make disc a much higher return on community participation in the parks system. And, both softball and disc contribute to parks and rec agenda, by bringing together rich/poor, male/female, young/old, etc.... Add to this, the fact that many disc courses are taken care off with participation of disc clubs (which sometimes also happens in softball for instance; but is much less often the case than with disc); thus, lessening the load of the park's staff.

There is a good amount of drinking involved with softball participation. Without going too much into the argument between the two; I personally would rather see smokers enjoying an event, than drinkers. I have to deal with drinkers and don't enjoy that aspect at all (yes, I realize discers drink as well).

Clubs take care of vandalism more than parks departments do at the courses. Often, even to the point of replacing stolen baskets. Clubs often add benches, etc. There are also many instances of disc courses discouraging bad elements from over running a park (i.e. gang situations or gay meet up activity).

One final note for those who think the smoking aspect is obvious....it's obvious to you; but, most courses have a wooded section that tends to be utilized for these activities, and if you were not a discer yourself, just part of the general public, would you ever see this?
 
One of our local parks department loves the disc golf course because it takes care of itself. It is self policing and we keep it clean.

One of the courses is tucked away in the back of the park and it's a 1400ft walk to get there from the parking lot. I have a pass to drive back there and work which I do often. One weekend some guy walking with his family got all up in my face flexing his muscle in front of them and told me I was driving illegally across the field to the course. I showed my pass and calmly explained I had permission. He was the county's on-site head of maintenance.

The next day I called the main office and spoke to my contact. He laughed and said the county loved disc golfers because they were volunteers and took care of the courses. All they really do there is cut grass and empty trash.

It works for them and it works for us.
 
Along with many of the above mentioned reasons, many parks and rec departments are required to spend XX number of dollars per year. If they already have the other facilities that are meeting the needs of the city, why not try something else?
 
Disc courses are born because Timg and his Big Blue Ox transverse the countryside planting baby Disc Catchers.
 
It's all just words though (I mean about the misconceptions).

This: If you charge $1 per day, it amounts to thousands per month. That money can fuel the mower and pay for other stuff.

That would be a great ad in the paper: Make thousands per month in extra income by allowing disc golf on your property.
It sounds unlikely in that who is going to allow it?, but... who is going to allow it is someone/private establishment/property owner who owns land that is just sitting there, and who would love to make thousands per month for doing nothing. Worst case scenario - cigarette butts on the ground (can be picked up). Even if cement pads can't be laid, grass is still pretty good.
 
Why do city's and park departments install courses? Because people ask them to.

If a community gets a Disc Golf course and another community/park down the road hears the buzz, they think, 'hey, we should put in a course.' That's how it starts.

I've been before city councils, county councils, private land owners and others pitching Disc Golf for 20 years. They build courses when there is an interest.

When I recently spoke before a city council I had several players attend the meeting for a show of support and I gave each City Council member a mini with the City's logo on it and each got a Disc Golf T-shirt. The other thing we added, and this is the important piece of information, was a 3-page report/study done by a Clemson University student working on his Masters or Phd in Economics. He did a study on what the out-of-town players spent in the community over a recent two-day tournament. Not including tournament fees, the players spent an average of $161 per player on hotel, food and drinks. A field of 90 players could mean $15,000 for the local economy.

If you show Disc Golf as having economic impact, the councils will build courses.
 
Just think about the money to people enjoying the activity ratio. Say a basket ball court cost 75k to install and you can have like 15-20 people using it at 1 time. And then about a disc golf course maybe 10k to install with easy accommedating 90-100 players. BBcourt $3750 per player to enjoy or DG course $100 per player. These are just some random figures off my head but you get my point.

HMMM, I wonder what Recreation Department employee Kenji first heard this argument from. ;)

You are dead on Kenji. Cost per participant is a HUGE!!!! advantage to DG. Also, the idea that there are more hoodlums and vandals playing DG is crap. It just seems like that to a bunch of people on a DG forum because DG hoodlums and vandals have a greater impact on us personally. Besides, what is cheaper to fix, a busted up DG basket or a soccer field that has been torn up by an ATV, or a swimming pool that had a can of latex paint dumped into it, or a tennis court tagged with obscenities? The point is people suck and any park facility is going to eventually get ruined by some moron. Disc golf is usually a relatively cheap fix.

In fact the disc golf community is not a deterrent at all, it is a major selling point for the sport. Most other sporting facilities carry with them large associated costs that come from programming and staff. If a city builds a bunch of softball fields they have to fund programming on those fields and the revenue rarely overcomes the costs. Pools need lifeguards and carry huge liability risks.

Disc golf runs itself and that is due to the players. I have been involved in several sports as an administrator and participant. None of them require less work on the part of the facility owner then Disc Golf. Have any of you been part of another sport where the players come together for scheduled workdays to improve their course? Is there another sport where the players take more pride in the facility they use then the owners of the facility? I doubt it. If you build a baseball diamond "they will come". If you build a disc golf course they will come, pick up litter, weed-whip fairways, clean graffiti off of baskets, run leagues, run tournaments....etc. etc. Every sub-culture has bad apples but for the most park...Disc Golfers Rule!!!

Disc golf is really a no brainer to a park system that is willing to try something a little outside the box and try something different. Besides exactly how many dormant basketball and tennis courts does a city really need?
 
It's all just words though (I mean about the misconceptions).

This: If you charge $1 per day, it amounts to thousands per month. That money can fuel the mower and pay for other stuff.

That would be a great ad in the paper: Make thousands per month in extra income by allowing disc golf on your property.
It sounds unlikely in that who is going to allow it?, but... who is going to allow it is someone/private establishment/property owner who owns land that is just sitting there, and who would love to make thousands per month for doing nothing. Worst case scenario - cigarette butts on the ground (can be picked up). Even if cement pads can't be laid, grass is still pretty good.

I hate cig butts on the ground. All of you smokers that do this stop it and quit being scumbags.
 

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