Disc golf flies into Watertown this Fall

by HANNAH BROADBENT
hannah.broadbent@ecm-inc.com

There are currently 285 disc golf courses in Minnesota, and soon there may be one more.

The Watertown Parks Commission brought a disc golf course design to city council last Tuesday, June 25. The council gave city staff and the parks commission the okay to go forward with design and public input meetings to eventually bring back to the council for approval.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf but instead of balls and clubs, flying discs are used and a stroke is counted each time a disc is thrown. The goal is to get the disc into a basket, that is planted into the ground.

The design that has been proposed is an 18-hole course through Evergreen Park and around the Forest Hills neighborhood. It was designed by Alan Hansen-Begg with the parks commission. Begg has designed several courses in the neighboring areas.

“This is good land, it has all the elements that make good land for disc golf,” Begg said.

According to Begg, those features are open land as well as wooded features, elevation and water elements.

City Staff said the park commissioners are excited about the idea because of the possibility of growth and activity it could bring. There are several other neighboring cities that have courses including Baylor Park, Montrose, Delano and Independence. Tournaments are a large part of disc golf and commissioners hope that could be possible in Watertown.

“It’s an amenity that a lot of our area has,” said council member Lindsay Guetzkow.

Courses can be estimated starting at $15,000 to $25,000 in construction, this proposed design is $15,284.

Begg said that with the proposed plan there is a possibility for flexibility for beginners as well as variety in different course options. He said that the baskets they have planned could be moved for such things.

For example, in the plan the there is a basket that goes near the baseball field. Begg said a beautiful thing about disc golf is that if there is a baseball game going on they can always just close that basket, though he is sure it wouldn’t get in the way.

As for parking, the skate park would be parking for the course according to Begg. Though the course is a couple mile trek, so the easiest place to park would be on Ironwood Avenue in the middle of the course Begg said.

This concerned a few city council members, but Begg assured them it wouldn’t be an issue because disc golf won’t boom overnight.

“At this point we have an opportunity passing us by,” he said. “Originally Watertown built one baseball field in Evergreen Park and now there are four. They didn’t know how popular it would be.”

With the approval from the council, the city will hold a public input session in July, their goal will be to gather feedback on the development of the course complex, hole location and course amenities. In August the parks commission and city council will review the project and finalize the plan. In September they will quote the project and elements to the course will be ordered from vendors and installed by city staff. The construction is projected to begin in October.