Main Menu

America's Earliest Disc Golf Courses - Updated December 2017


Updated December 2017

My name is Eric Vandenberg #3089 and I am the volunteer PDGA Course Archivist. In 2012, aided by PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory Editor Cliff Towne #5450, I started what has become several projects to find and track disc golf courses and have compiled a database of known disc golf courses by course list, directory, and other sources. In the process, several particularly interesting documents have come to my attention which have helped to narrow down the installation dates for many of these courses. The following is a brief history of disc golf course lists and directories as I know it and a list of the earliest 5 or so courses by state. The information below is culled not only from these historical lists and directories, but is also based on input from many disc golf luminaries and hundreds of hours of searching the Internet and other published material.

Evolution of the Disc Golf Course Directory

In July of 1977 the inventor of the original Disc Golf Pole Hole, founder of Disc Golf Association (DGA), and former VP of Wham-O Inc., "Steady" Ed Headrick #001 sent a letter to the Executives of Wham-O listing 22 courses that he had installed (or was about to install).

22-courses-letter.png

"Steady" Ed's first known distributed list of disc golf courses

In December of that same year (by my calculations), DGA created a list of 29 courses which they included with one of the Wham-O disc models that they were selling. Bill Burns #581, former PDGA Commissioner and one-time Junior Champion, filed this list away for many years until he posted it on the PDGA Discussion Board in May of 2003. Three of the courses from the July letter had already been removed from this listing and Bill’s guess dated it to 1978. The list is ordered by state and city and then either by park name, business name, or street address.

In July of 1978 DGA published a newsletter detailing 14 new courses, most of which described a signature hole, with the heading 'Add these new courses to your list:' In April 1980 DGA published a newsletter which on page 3 stated "We are working on a Disc Golf Course Book that gives location, lists the pros and other pertinent data on all of our courses. With any luck we should have it finished by June." Page 4 of this newsletter lists only the state and city of 31 new courses. Page 7 of the June 1980 newsletter lists 12 new courses, again with only state and city, and with no mention of the detailed course listing referenced in April (there must be more of these newsletters published between July 1978 and April 1980 and after June 1980, but I have yet to come across them).

On August 24, 1982, DGA sent a Memo to All Sales Reps and Regional Pros "We have finally received our order of Pocket Guides to the Game of Disc Golf. We feel that these are an excellent sales tool and educational aid to be given to people who have little or no knowledge of Disc Golf". This “Pocket Guide” is a simple list of 116 US course locations by State and City and was also included in the Wham-O Frisbee Golf Disc box with a 100-E mold glow disc. Years later, Steve Hartwell #2465 tried to use it to locate additional courses when he was PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory Editor. I have also tried to make this list more detailed as well as the newsletter course listings, but identifying these courses can be difficult, especially given the location of courses outside city limits which often get assigned to the nearest large city and then over time the location gets revised as towns grow in population. 1982 is also the year that Ted Smethers #1159 contacted all the known course pros to organize a professional tour and start gathering whatever course information he could.

pocket-guide-to-disc-golf-list.png

Box that the 100-E Mold came in (note that the box incorrectly claims more than 200 courses).

By January of 1984, Ted had completed a course directory of 167 entries, garnered from tournament flyers and pro tour dates, and as far as I can tell, was unaware of the newsletters or the 1982 directory. Ted sent out a letter making course pros aware of his directory but, due to his limited postage budget, not many people received a copy. Shortly after this, and 4 years after the newsletter mention, Ed published his own more complete version of this directory, without acknowledging Ted’s contribution, in an announcement for his “all new 1984 line of KITTY HAWK Super Discs” (the 2nd page lists retail prices as of April 12, 1984). In total, 255 US courses and 6 Canadian courses were included. Allen Risley #1752 believes it is likely that this directory was sent to DGA Regional Pros. I am pretty sure that a number of these courses had already been removed, but Ed was unaware of it.

In July of 1984 Allen Risley and Tom Monroe #033 drove from Florida to New York for the 1984 World Championships in Rochester, and, unaware of any directories, played as many courses as they knew about on their route. Talking to others at Worlds they learned of courses that they had driven by, and this inspired Allen to offer his assistance to Ted Smethers in order to get out a comprehensive listing. Ted passed his course material as well as some of Ed Headrick’s short form records of basket sales, to Allen who expanded on it, and in 1985 the PDGA started publishing, using a dot matrix printer, the “Flying Disc Golf Course Directory - Edited by Allen Risley". 209 courses in the United States and six Canadian courses were listed. The initial price was $5.00 and Allen sold many of them face-to-face at the 1985 PDGA Pro Worlds in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Throughout 1985 and into 1986 Allen reprinted some pages with new additions and, if already photocopied, he would "X" out removed courses in pen. Photocopied versions were sold for $3.00 and included between 215 and 235 courses.

flying-disc-golf-course-directory-allen-risley.png

Allen Risley's Flying Disc Golf Course Directory

In 1986, Steve Hartwell became involved when Allen Risley got married and started grad school and no longer had time to devote to the directory. The 2nd edition of the “P.D.G.A. Course Listing” was published in October of that year with 229 United States, six Canadian, and eight Scandinavian courses. Steve published directories or supplements nearly annually, from 1988 until 2001. After the 1993 directory Steve realized that install date would be an interesting piece of information and added that field to the update forms. These install dates first appeared in the 1994 directory, but in many cases, so much time had gone by that this value was only a best guess. (My first involvement with this project came directly as a result of almost 200 courses that still had this field blank in 2012.)

pdga-disc-golf-course-listing.png

The PDGA's first official bound Disc Golf Course Listing

Steve also worked with Bill Fitler #9987 to publish the very first PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory on the World Wide Web in 1995. Originally a set of static web pages hosted by Netscape (who was Bill's employer at the time) it was moved to a dedicated website at dgc-online.com in 1998. Towards the end of the decade, Bill was unable to put much time into the website and enlisted PDGA.com webmaster Marty Hapner #4033 to take over. Marty consolidated Steve and Bill's work to create a master database with enhanced search capabilities which would lay the foundation for a comprehensive and interactive PDGA Online Disc Golf Course Directory at PDGA.com.

online-disc-golf-course-directory-history.png

Over 20 years of the PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory on the Web

Current PDGA Disc Golf Course Editor Cliff Towne came on board in 2001 and continued to publish print editions annually. But with the ability for the public to submit course updates online and the continuing growth of the sport, it became clear that any printed version of the course directory would be out-of-date well before it hit the shelves. Cliff published the 22nd and final print edition of the PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory in October 2010 which contained more than 3200 courses worldwide.

22nd.png

America's Earliest Disc Golf Courses

The following is a list, by state, and year of basket installation of what we currently believe to be the earliest basket courses. If the target was originally not some kind of basket, then the installation year will not match the year that baskets were installed. Courses that no longer exist have a line struck through them. A list of the earliest five courses per country is available in a separate article. If you have documented evidence of different dates, we strongly encourage you to send us your feedback to help us correct our information. Although we would prefer that you contact us directly with any corrections to this early course information, anyone with an account on PDGA.com can edit the PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory to add new courses or update existing courses.

Don't have a PDGA.com account? Create one for free now and start editing, adding, and updating courses today!

Revised November 27, 2018

Course # Course Install Basket Install City Course Name
Alabama
1 1976 1976 Huntsville Brahan Springs Park
1 1976 1976 Robertsdale Styx River Resort
3 1977 1977 Huntsville Redstone Arsenal
4 1983 1983 Florence Lakeside Disc Golf at Veterans Memorial Park
5 1987

1988

Eight Mile Chickasabogue County Park
Alaska
1 1999 1999 King Salmon King Salmon Park
2 2000

2000

Anchorage Westchester Lagoon Park
3 2002 2002 Anchorage Russian Jack Golf & Disc Golf Course
4 2003 2003 Anchorage Kincaid Park Disc Golf Course
5 2004 2004 Juneau Aant'iyeik Park
5 2004

2004

Eagle River Schroeder Park Disc Golf Course
5 2004 2004 Homer The Moose Pretzel
Arizona
1 1977 1977 Tempe Sandy (Tempe) Beach Park
2 1978 1978 Tucson Santa Cruz River Park
3 1979 1979 Phoenix (Tempe) Papago Park
4 1981 1981 Fountain Hills Fountain Hills Park
5 1982 1982 Mesa Kleinman Park
Arkansas
1 1980 1980 North Little Rock Burns Park - Red
2 1980 1984 Fort Smith Tilles Park
2 1984 1984 Little Rock Camp Aldersgate
2 1984 1984 Hot Springs Village Coronado Center
5 1993 1993 Fayetteville

Gulley Park

California
1 1975 1976 Pasadena Oak Grove (Hahamongna Park)
2 1976 1976 La Mirada La Mirada Regional Park - Lake 18
3 1977 1977 Huntington Beach Huntington Beach Central Park
3 1977 1977 San Diego Morley Field
3 1977 1977 Berkeley Tilden Park
Colorado
1 1978 1978 Littleton Ken Caryl Disc Golf Course
2 1978 1978 Pueblo Pueblo City Park
3 1987 1987 Steamboat Springs Routt
4 1990 1990 Fort Collins Edora Park
5 1991 1991 Boulder Harlow Platts Park
Connecticut
1 1995 1995 South Windham

Willowbrook Farms

2 1991 1998 Norwalk Cranbury Park
2 1998 1998 Fairfield Fairfield University
4 2002 2002 North Grosvenor Dale West Thompson Lake
5 2004 2004 Manchester Wickham Park Disc Golf Course
Delaware
1 1978 1978 Lewes Cape Henlopen State Park
2 1980 1980 Wilmington Brandywine Creek State Park
3 1982 1982 Wilmington Bellevue State Park
3 1982 1982 Felton Killens Pond State Park
3 1982 1982 Bear Lums Pond State Park
Florida
         
1 1978 1978 Rockledge Rockledge Recreation Center
2 1978 1978 Miami David T. Kennedy Park
3 1979 1979 Lake Worth John Prince Memorial Park
4 1983 1984 Altamonte Springs Montgomery Road Disc Golf
5 1984 1985 Orlando University of Central Florida
Georgia
1 1978 1978 Athens Athens Disc Golf Course
2 1982 1982 Marietta Southern Technical Institute
3 1983 1983 Atlanta Chastain Park
4 1987 1987 Alpharetta Wills Park
5 1988 1988 Rico Weinstein's Golf-o-rama
Hawaii
1 1990 2001 Maui Maui
2 2006 2006 Polipoli, Maui Haleakala Disc Golf Course
3 2007 2007 Mountain View Kopua Disc Golf Course
4 2008 2008 Lahaina Kapalua Adventures Disc Golf Course
5 2011 2011 Waimanalo Bellows Field Beach Disc Golf
Idaho
1 1996 1996 Boise Ann Morrison Park Southeast
2 1997 1997 Cascade Cascade Sports Park
3 1998 1998 Pocatello Bengal Ridge at ISU
3 1998 1998 Rupert Lake Walcott State Park
3 1998 1998 Moscow University of Idaho
Illinois
1 1977 1977 Wilmette Gillson Park
2 1977 1977 Rockton Thunder Rock Public Skeet and Trap Range
3 1977 1977 Spring Grove Lost Valley Ski Area
4 1978 1978 Northfield Willow Park Bird & Frisbee Sanctuary
5 1979 1979 Joliet West Park
Indiana
1 1977 1977 Peru Honey Bear Hollow Campgrounds
2 1978 1978 Lafayette Lafayette KOA
3 1978 1978 Greenfield S & H Campground
4 1980 1980 Munster Community Park
4 1980 1980 Fort Wayne Shoaff Park
Iowa
1 1978 1978 Cedar Falls Tourist Park
2 1979 1979 Fort Dodge Snell-Crawford Park
3 1979 1979 Des Moines (Urbandale) Walker Johnson Park
4 1980 1980 Des Moines (Urbandale) North Karen Acres Park
4 1980 1980 Ottumwa Wildwood Park
Kansas
1 1980 1980 Topeka Crestview Park
2 1983 1983 Wakeeney Scout Park (Boy Scout Park)
3 1984 1984 Lindsborg Lindsborg Football Field
4 1984 1984 Perry Wet Willy's Water Slide
5 1985 1985 Kansas City Rosedale Park (Top)
         
Kentucky
1 1978 1978 Brandenburg Otter Creek Park
2 1981 1981 Louisville Long Run Park
3 1981 1981 Louisville Iroquois Park
3 1981 1981 Independence Lincoln Ridge/Banklick Woods Park
3 1981 1981 Nancy Pulaski County Park (Bottom)
Louisiana
1 1977 1982 Shreveport Clyde Fant Disc Golf Course (Veterans Park)
2 1982 1982 Metairie Lafreniere Park
3 1984 1984 Shreveport Clyde Fant Disc Golf Course - West 9
4 1985 1985 Shreveport Cargill Park
5 1987 1987 Baton Rouge Highland Road Park
Maine
1 1977 1977 North Monmouth Beaver Brook Disc Golf Course
2 1992 1992 Vassalboro Burnsboro
3 1994 1994 Trenton Hapana Disc Golf
4 1995 1995 Brunswick Enman Field - Beast
5 1997 1997 Brunswick Enman Field - Beauty
Maryland
1 1980 1980 College Park Calvert Road Park
2 1981 1981 Baltimore Pine Grove Middle School
3 1986 1986 Baltimore Druid Hill Park - Legacy Course
4 1990 1990 Gaithersburg Seneca Creek State Park
5 1993 1993 Millersville Kinder Farm Park
Massachusetts
1 1977 1977 South Egremont Jug End in the Berkshires
2 1977 1977 South Lee Oak 'N' Spruce Resort
3 1977 1977 Lenox Eastover Resort
3 1977 1977 Hancock Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
5 1984 1984 Hubbardston Bents Pond
Michigan
1 1980 1980 Washington Stony Creek Metro Park*
1 1980 1980 Temperance Vienna Park
1 1980 1980 Troy Raintree Park
4 1981 1981 Royal Oak Starr-Jaycee Park
5 1984 1984 Niles Madeline Bertrand County Park
Minnesota
1 1977 1977 Minneapolis (Edina) Braemar Park
1 1977 1977 Minneapolis Minnehaha Falls
1 1977 1977 Minneapolis Theodore Wirth Park*
4 1978 1978 Brainerd Crow Wing Lake Camp
4 1978 1978 Owatonna K.O.A. Campground
4 1978 1978 Rochester Slatterly Park
4 1978 1978 Burnsville West Buck Hill Park
Mississippi
1 1994 1994 Oxford Avent Park
2 1995 1995 Hattiesburg Paul B. Johnson State Park - Desert Fox
3 1996 1996 Tupelo Tombigbee State Park - 1
4 1997 1997 Waveland Buccaneer State Park
4 1997 1997 Jackson Lefleurs Bluff State Park
4 1997 1997 Gautier Shepard State Park
Missouri
1 1979 1979 St. Louis (Hazelwood) White Birch Park
2 1979 1979 Springfield Oak Grove Park
3 1980 1980 Columbia Albert Oakland Park, Front Course
3 1980 1980 Hannibal Anne Dorsey Hodgdon
5 1981 1981 Mexico Plunkett Park
5 1981 1981 Kansas City Swope Park
Montana
1 1997 1997 Great Falls Warden Park
2 1998 1998 Bozeman Bohart Ranch X-C Ski Center - Lower
2 1998 1998 Missoula Snow Bowl Ski Area
4 1999 1999 Red Lodge Coal Miners Memorial Park
5 2000 2000 Hamilton Ceedeeteetee Pines
5 2000 2000 Billings Pioneer Park
5 1992? 2000 Glendive Dawson Community College
Nebraska
1 1982 1982 Omaha Elmwood Park
2 1990 1990 Lincoln Max E. Roper Interstate Park
3 1991 1991 Schulyer Camp Luther
4 1992 1992 Fremont Calvin Crest Camp
5 1994 1994 Omaha Seymour Smith Park
Nevada
1 1975 1976 Las Vegas Lyons (Fantasy) Park
2 1977 1977 Las Vegas Sunset Park
3 1992 1992 Las Vegas Freedom Park
4 1993 1993 Las Vegas Peccole Ranch
5 1998 1998 Zephyr Cove Zephyr Cove Park
New Hampshire
1 1977 1977 Plymouth Tenney Mountain Ski Area
2 1980 1980 North Conway Cranmore Forest Golf Course
3 1984 1984 Rindge Sunridge Development
4 1995 1995 Durham Hickory Pond Inn and Golf Course
5 1996 1996 Center Ossipee Terrace Pines Campground
New Jersey
1 1977 1977 Newfoundland Craigmeur Ski Area
2 1977 1977 Vernon Vernon Valley Ski Area
3 1974 1982 New Brunswick Rutgers, Douglass College
4 1990 1990 West Milford Browns Point/Buzzy's Creek
5 1996 1996 Vernon Skylands DGC
New Mexico
1 1984 1987 Albuquerque Roosevelt Park
2 1990 1990 Rio Rancho Vista Hills Park
3 1992 1992 Santa Fe Ashbaugh Park
4 1995 1995 Red River Mallette Park
5 1996 1996 Cimarron Philmont Scout Ranch
New York
1 1977 1977 Mt. Kisco Leonard Park
2 1977 1977 Valhalla Kensico Dam Plaza
3 1980 1980 Lewiston Joseph Davis State Park
4 1980 1980 Rochester Genessee Valley Park
5 1982 1982 North Tonawanda Payne Park
North Carolina
1 1982 1982 Winston-Salem Horizons Park
2 1983 1983 Raleigh Kentwood
3 1984 1984 Raleigh Cedar Hills Rotary Park
3 1984 1984 Durham Cornwallis Road Park
3 1984 1984 Jacksonville Northeast Creek Park
North Dakota
1 1979 1979 Grand Forks Central Park
2 1980 1980 Bismarck Lions Hillside Park
4 1981 1981 Dickinson Jaycees Park
4 1981 1981 Dickinson Optimist Disc Golf Course at Memorial Park
4 1981 1981 Mandan Sunset Park Disc Golf Course
Ohio
1 1978 1978 Medina Roscoe Ewing Park
1 1978 1978 Dayton Eastwood Park
3 1978 1978 Harrison Miami Whitewater Forest
4 1979 1979 Columbus Highbanks Metro Park
5 1980 1980 Cincinnati Woodland Mound Park
Oklahoma
1 1977 1977 Norman N.E. Lions Park
2 1979 1979 Tulsa Riverside Park
2 1979 1979 Oklahoma City Will Rogers Park
4 1980 1980 Tulsa (Broken Arrow) Haikey Creek Park
4 1980 1980 Tulsa McClure Park
4 1980 1980 Ponca City War Memorial Park
Oregon
1 1980 1980 Gresham Rockwood Central Park
2 1982 1982 Lebanon Camp Tadmor
2 1982 1982 Gresham Portland Adventist Elem. School
4 1991 1991 North Bend Windsor Park
4 1991 1991 McMinnville Wortman Park
Pennsylvania
1 1977 1977 Titusville Oil Creek Family Campground
2 1977 1978 Philadelphia Sedgley Woods (East Fairmount Park)
3 1978 1978 Newville Dogwood Acres Campground
4 1988 1988 Pittsburgh Schenley Park
5 1987 1989 Birdsboro French Creek State Park
Rhode Island
1 1984 1984 Newport Miantonomi Park
2 1999 1999 Charlestown Ninigret Park
3 2005 2005 North Smithfield North Smithfield Disc Golf Course
4 2011 2011 Richmond Willow Valley
5 2014 2014 Wakefield South Kingstown Disc Golf Course
South Carolina
1 1977 1977 Myrtle Beach Apache Family Campground
2 1978 1978 Myrtle Beach Tobacco Barn
2 1978 1978 North Myrtle Beach North Myrtle Beach DGC
2 1978 1978 Garden City Garden City DGC
2 1978 1978 Myrtle Beach McFadden Pond US Air Force Base
South Dakota
1 1977 1977 Rapid City Omaha Park Disc Golf Course
2 1985 1985 Pierre Griffin Park
3 1993 1993 Aberdeen Kuhnert Disc Golf Course
4 1995 1995 Spearfish Black Hills State University
5 1996 1996 Vermillion Prentis Park Disc Golf
Tennessee
1 1979 1979 Lebanon (Bairds Mills) Cedars of Lebanon State Park
2 1979 1979 Ooltewah Country Village Disc Golf
3 1980 1980 Nashville Hermitage Landing
3 1980 1980 Winchester Winchester City Park
3 1980 1980 Chattanooga Chattanooga Saucer Golf
3 1980 1980 Johnson City Johnson City Saucer Golf
Texas
1 1978 1978 Fort Hood 1st Cavalry Division Frisbee Disc Golf Course
2 1982 1982 Dallas Skyline Recreation Center
3 1982 1982 Austin Bartholomew Park
4 1984 1984 Irving Fritz Park
5 1986 1986 Carrollton Greenbelt Park
Utah
1 1977 1977 Park City ParkWest Ski Area
2 1981 1981 Salt Lake City Jordan River Parkette*
3 1982 1982 Salt Lake City Creekside Park
4 1999 1999 Provo Bicentennial Park
5 2001 2001 Solitude Solitude Mountain Resort
Vermont
1 1990 1990 Montpelier North Calais Disc Golf Course
2 2000 2000 Bennington Willow Park
3 2001 2001 Hartland Foster's Meadow
4 2002 2002 Montgomery Black Falls Disc Club
4 2002 2002 Waterbury Center Center Chains DGC at Hope A. Davey Park
4 2002 2002 Bradford Oxbow Disc Golf
Virginia
1 1977 1977 Martinsville Chatmoss Country Club
2 1977 1977 Virginia Beach Bayville Park
3 1978 1978 Fredericksburg Pratt Park
4 1979 1979 Centreville Bull Run Regional Park
4 1979 1979 Fairfax Station Burke Lake Park
4 1979 1979 Lorton Pohick Bay Regional Park
4 1979 1979 Centreville Algonkian Springs
Washington
1 1979 1979 Parkland Bob's Disc Golf
2 1986 1986 Tacoma Fort Steilacoom N.W. Disc Golf Course
3 1987 1989 Seattle North Park
4 1989 1989 Seattle Lakewood King County Park
5 1990 1990 Ravensdale Lake Retreat Campground
West Virginia
1 1983 1983 Lavalette Lucky 8
2 1994 1994 Paw Paw The Woodshed
3 1994 1994 Huntington Rotary Park
4 1997 1997 Fayetteville Songer Whitewater - New River Gorge
5 2000 2000 Paw Paw Whippin' Post
Wisconsin
1 1977 1977 Waupaca Guerin's Recreational Center DGC
2 1979 1979 Beloit Dr. George W. Hilliard Park
3 1980 1980 Sheboygan Vollrath Park
4 1984 1984 Milwaukee Brown Deer Park*
5 1984 1984 Ladysmith Ladysmith DGC
Wyoming
1 1980 1980 Powell Homesteader Park
2 1980 1980 Green River Green River DGC
3 1992 1992 Powell Northwest Community College
4 1996 1996 Cheyenne Dry Creek Parkway
5 1997 1997 Alta Grand Targhee Resort
5 1997 1997 Evanston Hamblin City Park

* Course re-established in park after original layout removed, or course moved to a different area of the park. 

Comments

Submitted by cgkdisc on

Future trivia nugget: The largest and smallest U.S. states were the last to get their first listed course, both in 1999.

Submitted by Fissiksman on

I was thinking along the same lines... My favorite course 35 years ago, played with a frisbee, is long gone now, obsolete with new discs. Man, that was a fun course.

This is a REALLY COOL history lesson !!!!!
Really wanna go hunting for baskets........ Jug End in the Berkshires(South Egremont MA) is a huge area of unused forest. Serious potential to find an old Mach I out there i bet.

Such interesting information Eric. Thanks to all who labored to create this database stretching way back.
I noticed what looks like an error in the PA listing. If the install dates are correct, then Schenley Park should be sixth on the list, after Akron and Birdsboro.

Submitted by Javaracer on

Ross Park in Norton Shores Michigan was open in 1977 where it was only nine holes with 4x4 painted posts as the target. It's where I first started in that same year.

Submitted by jackinkc on

Any indication about the Worlds of Fun Course in Kansas City Missouri, some believe that it was in place prior to Swope.

In June, Tom Ingle (#107) was an part of the first class inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame. Unable to attend the ceremony, he had me read his remarks that included this: "In 1982 I designed the second basket course, in Kansas City, for Lamar Hunt at his Oceans of Fun waterpark. (About 300 daily rounds were played until they replaced part of the course with a water float-ride.)"

Submitted by Rileysan on

Interesting compilation. I hope you intend this to be a living, breathing document as errors are discovered.

In Oregon: Champoeg State Park did not have baskets permanently installed until the early 1990s. Prior to that, it was used by the disc golfing community as an object course (trees) with a dynamic course design.

Westmoreland Park in Eugene used poles with metal bands until the parks department installed baskets in 1991.

I've had several locals as well as fellow disc golfers tell me there was a basket course installed in Ooltewah, TN (just outside of Chattanooga) in 1981 that closed in 1983. One of my neighbors and her husband played the course often while it was open. I also talked to another gentleman once from Alabama who had won the grand opening tournament there. There was apparently a downhill hole that if you overthrew it you would end up in the middle of I-75! My friends went to where the course was a couple years back to see what was left and only found 1 old teepad everything else was grown over. I heard at one point the baskets were sold to another course but not sure which one. Wish I could help more. Please let me know if you find any info about this and if I can help in any way. Thanks

This sounds like the "Country Village" Course. Kathy Swift was listed as the course pro. The address was on Hilltop Drive, but as far as I can tell that area is residential now. It was listed in the 1984 directory. Thanks for the date range.

I would guess half of the old course is commercial and the other half is residential. There's a huge business there now that builds tow trucks but it does connect to a subdivision. It's on Hilltop Dr. The gentleman I talked the most to about it said it was gone by 83-84 but it was there for a few years. Thanks for the info. I'll see if I can help with number of baskets and tracking down the exact year it was installed. I really wish I could have played it!!!

I located one of the original employees of the course in Ooltewah, TN. He said the course was installed in 1979. He said he knows for sure because he bought his first new car that same year, a 1979 Camaro. (Because of the new job) Also said he played the course several times before it was even open to the public. He said the original downhill hole that went towards I75 was moved because of safety. He also said it was a 18 hole course. This is the third person in the last week that told me it was installed before 1980. (All locals) I'm going to keep looking for some kind of concrete evidence. I have a friend that has an overhead picture of that area from 1980. She said there are definitely some kind of trails going all through there but it's hard to see anything else when you zoom in.

I've talked to a couple people who played it and they both said there were 18 baskets. Apparently they were all sold to a course in Atlanta after they shut it down. I'm still trying to find out exactly what year it was installed.

On a side note, I found out that Wills Park in GA wasn't installed until 1987. The first course there was Chastain Park installed in 77 or 78 by Ed Headricks son.

Wills Park on FaceBook says 1983 Install, I sent an email to Alpharetta Recreation asking them to look it up, and the Deputy Director's reply was that they took over from Fulton County in 1996, so they don't know, but were told it was in the late 1980's. 1988 is the first time that it was added to the PDGA Database, so 1987 is quite possible. I don't know when the 1980 date was accepted, but I have not been able to confirm anything before 1988. Can you provide some kind of proof of install date?

Chastain Park is unlikely in 1977, since it should have shown up in one of the two early lists. 1978 would make more sense if it was that early, and it is quite possible that it is, but I would need to see proof to change it prior to the 1983 date that we know it existed. Please provide this proof if possible.

This is really cool! I just wanted to help improve some information about New York. The Rochester Flying Disc Open is in its 43rd year this year, which means there must have been courses that predate all of the courses you have listed by a few years. I'm not sure what courses were used, but I'm sure you could ask Jim Palmeri (PDGA #23) or Royce Racinowski (PDGA #2089). Ellison Park was first used in 1975 (see http://grdgc.org/courses/ellison-park). In addition, Genesee Valley Park was installed in 1980. Keep up the good work!

Nice stuff Eric. As to Missouri, I have heard anecdotal evidence (a KC golfer says he played the course then as a teenager) that Oak Grove Park in Springfield may have been installed as early as 1978, even though Hazelwood has always touted itself as "Missouri's First Disc Golf Course."

Submitted by mick280 on

Wow, nice to see the info about Gilson Park in Wilmette, Illinois as that was the first real course that I ever played at and that was in 1977 when it was brand new. I joined the PDGA that same year and continue playing today.
Mick Kramer
PDGA #280

I remember playing my first rounds at Long Run Park, outside Louisville, Ky, probably in 1981. The "baskets" we're tree stumps with the centers routed out and a pole down the middle, I want to say there was nylon webbing instead of chains. I had one disc, a black 185 Masterclass by Whammo. Good memories, hard to believe that was 35 summers ago

You are the second person to give us feedback on 1981, however it was an object (post) course until at least 1985, so is not listed among the oldest basket courses above.

You should absolutely pursue this, shouldn't take more than a few hundred hours. I look forward to your more accurate list. Let me know if you want me to supply you with a starter list of object courses, and if you would like me to act as liaison for the PDGA to publish it once you are finished. Happy hunting!

Submitted by discndav on

re: PA
At some in the 90's Sedgley was thought as 2nd oldest but I realize now nobody knows for sure. I've been playing 30 years total and 27 in and around PA but never heard of:

1 1976 Newville Dogwood Acres Campground
2 1977 Titusville Oil Creek Family Campground

Have these two been verified recently?

Sedgley's history can be read here:
http://sedgleywoods.com/about/history

These 2 courses were not listed in the course directories for many years and also had homemade targets, so they are not Headrick courses. I read the Sedgley history, which is similar to the Wikipedia page on Sedgley. I sent the club a note 18 months ago to let them know that Sedgley was not close to the first dozen worldwide, but they apparently ignored it. In terms of Headrick/DGA courses it could have been as early as about #35, and if it had been installed as soon as Headrick offered baskets it might have been #2 on the east coast. However, as it took awhile, it may have just barely made it into the first dozen on the east coast, they could probably accurately claim it was one of the first 50 worldwide.

I was interested in the Athens GA course listed above as I had never heard anyone mention it in my years here. Digging around in the archive of the Red and Black (UGA's student newspaper) it appears the course was established earlier than what's listed above. The course was in place by May 1978 and ads were still appearing for it in 1980. So I believe the Athens course may have been the first in Georiga, not Willis Park (FWIW, the ads claim it as the first). Here are some of the ads/articles that appeared about it:

https://imgur.com/gallery/fQWrw

Thanks so much for digging into this! Yours is precisely the type of response I had hoped to get more of by publishing my articles. I changed the Athens and Alpharetta dates in this article, made note of the articles and the 1978 date in my database, and have reached out to the brother of one of the people mentioned in the 2nd article.FYI, per the comment thread above, Chastain Park has been claimed to have had a polehole course in 1977 or 1978, but I have no proof; Wikipedia claims that there was an object disc golf course in Augusta's Pendleton King Park by 1964.

Great list, thanks!

I suspect that there was never a course at Tilden Park in Berkeley. Victor Malafronte was interviewed on local TV around 1979-1980 (based on his comment that roughly 74 courses existed in the country at that time) -- saying that there were no courses in Northern California yet. Many years later, Victor couldn't recall what happened to the course that DGA/Wham-O donated, perhaps he gave them to the East Bay Regional Park District that he mentioned in the interview? (EBRPD staff is not aware of this, but I didn't dig too much into their history.) My guess is that these baskets were installed at Aquatic Park in Berkeley -- which opened in 1982, I believe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=418d879mufQ

Tilden was included due to it's inclusion on Ed Headrick's ~Dec1977 list. It is possible that it was never installed, it is also possible that it was removed after a short period of time. Aquatic Park's currently accepted install is 1980.

Thanks Eric, didn't know the Tilden listing originated with Ed. Wow, it's interesting and challenging trying to document our history, even though we're still relatively young. I'm gonna follow up on the Aquatic Park date, as I've thought for some time that it was installed in 1982. I need to go to the first-person authorities. :)

Submitted by zpace on

First of all it really bothers me that you call Ed the father of disc golf, not even remotely true. We were playing golf at Berkeley in the 60's and demanding a better made disc for distance. Vic and Roger Barrett submitted mechanical drawings of a disc that would be far superior to the pro. Ed's response was to tell us that we were freaks and that it would never be a sport. Then he says look what we are producing , a disc had melted on a radiator and thus the fastback was born, we were horrified. Does this sound like the inventor of anything? I am sure if you would do a little research you would find that Ed copied someone else design for the pole hole and when he realized he could make some coin boom he was gone from Whamo selling pole holes at 300 a shot. eventually they produced that mechanical drawing and it was the 119.

Submitted by zpace on

only a bit of history about Ed and disc golf sorry that you are not interested. Part of my point is that disc golf course were not invented with the pole hole, which is just one of many devices used over the years, so if you article is just about pole hole courses then it is incomplete.

Submitted by Joe Feidt on

This is such a terrific project, Eric. Thank you so much for digging into the history of early basket courses from 40 years ago. Some newer members may not know that a bunch of Saucer Golf, so-called "Cone" courses, were installed from 1978 to 1981. Some are still being played such as the popular one at Moir Park in Bloomington, MN. Here's a clip from a tournament there a few years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP0e6EuTYWQ

I spoke to Jim Challas last night, and did some additional research. As far as I know there are 3 cone courses still in existence in the US, all in Minnesota, and 3 cone courses in Alberta, Canada. At one time there were cone courses in 12 states. I am preparing a list, with my current information for Jim, and once I get confirmation from him, I will be modifying the 1st 5 for at least 3 states.

Submitted by barnitz1 on

Much has changed at Bayville Park in Va. Beach since it opened in 77. I would ride my bike to the course on Saturday and not see a person all day. Today, the course is full on Tuesdays. Says a lot for the sport. Love to see the history being relived through these articles. RADL helped show the way back in the day

I believe you left beautiful Northside Park off the Florida list by mistake. Northside was created in 1982 and is the oldest (still) standing course in Florida.

Northside did not install (Tom Monroe's personal) baskets there until 1985, I currently don't know why the PDGA lists a 1982 date, it is on my radar to probably change to 1985. My guess is that there might have been an object course there as early as 1982. The problem with many object courses is, did they ever really exist, and are they ever really removed? If you have proof of a 1982 course, or anything prior to 1985, I am most eager to see it.

Submitted by rizbee on

Thanks again, Eric, for your hard work on this project! I'm glad to have played my part in bringing along the cataloging of disc golf courses.

And Northside in Gainesville was definitely installed in 1985. Tom moved to Florida from Alabama in 1984 and I don't think there was a course there before his arrival.

Pages

Submit a comment

Log in or register to post comments