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Disc golf draws more people to local parks

Disc golf is a growing sport and courses are popping up all over the Chicago area and the country in recent years.

According to, a website that pools information about courses with an emphasis on player reviews similar to how works for restaurants, there are 190 courses in Illinois and 4,267 in the United States.

Most of those are free public courses built on park district land, but there are some private courses as well. Molex’s Lisle Campus had a nine-hole course built in 2010. Edgebrook Golf Course in Chicago has a set of 18 baskets set up on the golf course that allows players to play alongside golfers, and even rent a cart, as long as they are willing to pay for a round.

Some courses have been around since the 1970s – West Park in Joliet was created in 1979 – but as the popularity of the sport has grown demand for courses has gone up. Among the 15 courses in the western suburbs, 11 were built since 2005 and six since 2010.

“The last five years was a great growth period for disc golf,” said Cathy Kamm, a Lombard resident that designs courses with her husband, Mike, under the name Midwest Disc Golf. “Park Districts are looking for disc golf now. It used to be disc golfers looking for courses.”

Kress Creek Farms in West Chicago is an example of a newer course built by a park district. West Chicago Park District Executive Director Gary Major said it was a simple story as to why they put in the 18-hole course in 2011.

“We had 50 acres of land, but it had topography and trees on it,” Major said. “We had good space for it.”

Since disc golf doesn’t require maintained greens and since flat, open land is typically undesirable, Kress Creek Farms was an ideal fit. Major said it was a relatively inexpensive venue to create and volunteers helped install the course.

“It’s an activity a lot of people can play,” he said. “We get very good usage.”

As disc golf continues to grow its cult-like following, more courses are likely to come. Players can play competitively or casually.

Colleen Thompson, a student at Illinois State University, is taking the competitive route. Thompson is participating at the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships this week in Kansas and has been playing the sport for six years, the last four competitively.

According to Thompson, whose favorite courses include Trinity Links in Lockport and Highland Park in Joliet, the sport has several appeals.

“For the most part, it’s a cheap opportunity; the parks are mainly free to play,” she said. “And a wide variety of people can play. Your whole family can play, from a 5-year-old to a 70-year-old. Plus it’s a way to get out and get exercise.”

Foxdale Park

1500 N. Itasca Road
Holes: 9
Year created: 2012

Springfield Park

269 Springfield Drive
Holes: 6
Year created: 2009

O'Brien Park

6909 S. Dunham Road
Holes: 9
Year created: 2008

Maryknoll Park

845 Pershing Ave.
Holes: 9
Year created: 2011

Katherine Legge Park

5901 S. County Line Road
Holes: 18
Year created: 2012

Four Lakes Recreation

5750 Lakeside Dr.
Holes: 9
Year created: 2010

Molex Lisle Campus
2222 Wellington Court
Private course
Holes: 9
Year created: 2010

Lombard Commons

154 S. Fairfield Ave.
Holes: 10
Year created: 1995

Madison Meadow
700 Madison St.
Holes: 19
Year created: 1998

Knoch Knolls Park

336 Knoch Knolls Road
Holes: 9
Year created: 1998

Goose Lake Park

Mensching Road and Bryn Mawr Avenue
Holes: 9
Year created: 2005

Shady Oaks Park

777 Bartlett Road
Holes: 18
Year created: 1990

Sunny Hill Park
1400 W Irving Park Road
Holes: 9
Year created: 2007

Kress Creek Farms

30W150 Wilson Road (Wilson Road and Joliet Street)
Holes: 18
Year created: 2011

Mayfair Park

Mayfair Avenue and Wakefield Street
Holes: 9
Year created: 2005

Castaldo Park

3018 71st Street
Holes: 9
Year created: 2006

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