by Adam Gruenewald
Discs are certainly flying and hitting baskets at Lions Park in Cologne with the recent addition of a new course.
Worked on by Cologne Lions Club members and enthusiastic volunteers, the disc golf course features 9-holes and continues the effort to grow the sport in the area.
There are currently 285 disc golf courses in Minnesota, with local courses at Crown College Waconia, Baylor Park in NYA and an upcoming course in Watertown.
The relatively inexpensive course at $4,200 in Cologne started with the purchase of a 10-acre addition of mostly swampland to Lions Park, according to Lions Club member Roger Storms.
“It took us a good four years to clean it out,” said Storms, adding they wanted to allow more air and also create space so the area was cleared in the winter of 2014-15 and grass was planted in 2016. “One of the ideas was to put disc golf in because we could take the whole perimeter of the park to do that.”
While Storms is not a participant in the sport involving discs that are aimed for baskets planted in the ground, he enlisted the help of area disc golfers including Brandon Leifermann, 29.
Leifermann, a 2006 Glencoe-Silver Lake High School graduate, and his friends were eager to help out in not only designing and redesigning the course using temporary wooden stakes, but also installing the disc catchers and tee boxes with about 15 volunteers in late June.
“It was pretty impressive the way the project came together,” said Leifermann. “Everybody that worked on it seemed to be pretty happy with it.”
Certainly relatively compact featuring nine holes ranging from 178 to 308 feet and totaling about 2,062 feet, the course does include some unique features including a signature seventh hole that divides several trees. The course conveniently starts and ends at the parking lot in Lions Park.
“Our first concern was how we were going to effectively use the land,” said Leifermann. “We took a look at it and wanted our holes to be long enough and maximize the efficiency. Another big concern was safety too.”
Leifermann, who works at Mid-County Coop, has already taken advantage of the recently installed disc golf course several times during his lunch breaks, much like he did when he attended MSU-Mankato, where he was a 2010 graduate.
“I started in college as an easy way when I had a couple of hours in the afternoon,” Leifermann said. “It was good to get outside.”
Tee boxes have been partially installed and the official distances will be added at a later date.
Also, Leifermann and local disc golfers in the area have donated about 15 discs to be used by the public and returned to a metal box on the shelter so that newcomers can take part in the sport.
“It would be pretty good if we can encourage people who have never played to come out here,” said Leifermann, adding he plans to add the course to the Disc Golf Course Review website soon. “Pretty much everybody can do it. There definitely is a level of skill there and a challenge to the game, but you don’t need to be an incredible athlete to come out here and play.”
Looking ahead, Storms and Leifermann hope to host a small disc golf tournament in the fall to kick off the course, implement another small tournament during the 2018 Glad Days festival and certainly welcome anyone to make use of the course and Lions Park.
“We just love it,” said Storms. “If you have a family reunion, it takes 20 people to have a decent softball game. But here if you have seven or eight teenagers, parents can let the kids go on the swing and go play disc golf.”
For more information as well as a course map, visit www.colognelions.com. Also visit www.dgcoursereview.com for reviews and locations of area disc golf courses.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.