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Disc golf draws more people to local parks

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 1:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 10:00 a.m. CDT

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

According to dgcoursereview.com, a website that pools information about courses with an emphasis on player reviews similar to how yelp.com 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 RoadHoles: 9Year created: 2012

Springfield Park
269 Springfield DriveHoles: 6Year created: 2009

O'Brien Park
6909 S. Dunham RoadHoles: 9Year created: 2008

Maryknoll Park
845 Pershing Ave.Holes: 9Year created: 2011

Katherine Legge Park
5901 S. County Line RoadHoles: 18Year created: 2012

Four Lakes Recreation
5750 Lakeside Dr.Holes: 9Year created: 2010

Molex Lisle Campus
2222 Wellington CourtPrivate courseHoles: 9Year created: 2010

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

Madison Meadow700 Madison St.Holes: 19Year created: 1998

Knoch Knolls Park
336 Knoch Knolls RoadHoles: 9Year created: 1998

Goose Lake Park
Mensching Road and Bryn Mawr AvenueHoles: 9Year created: 2005

Shady Oaks Park
777 Bartlett RoadHoles: 18Year created: 1990

Sunny Hill Park1400 W Irving Park RoadHoles: 9Year created: 2007

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

Mayfair Park
Mayfair Avenue and Wakefield StreetHoles: 9Year created: 2005

Castaldo Park
3018 71st StreetHoles: 9Year created: 2006

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