Let’s get the ball rolling (or in this case the disc flying)!
Disc golf is a family friendly activity that can be played by people of all ages and abilities. I have seen children around 4-5 years old learn how to throw a disc from playing weekly with their parents and I have often played with people in their 60s at leagues and tournaments. There are also two courses aimed at making disc golf accessible to the disabled through a program with Milwaukee County Parks through the Office for Persons with Disabilities. Wil-O-Way Underwood is one of those courses and it has a sidewalk around the three holes to allow for wheelchair accessibility.
Disc golf is truly a great low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by everyone. The cost of entry into this sport can be as little as $8 for one disc. While most of the courses are free to play, the places that charge for play only ask a nominal fee around $5.
Disc Golf is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA); active members, sanctioned tournaments, annual competitors and disc golf courses have all more than doubled in the last 10 years. This may come as a surprise, but there is also an active professional tour, much like other major sports. While the PDGA Tour is a lot smaller scale and they are competing for much less money, there are still dedicated people willing to travel the country, even internationally, to play in large tournaments every week.
While disc golf is most often known for its location in city, county and—to a lesser extent—state parks, there are other places where you can find disc golf in the state. Apple River Campground in Somerset and Fox Hill RV Park and Campground in Baraboo have their own disc golf courses on site to provide an added value to their customers. Big Dog Adventure Park in Wautoma has added disc golf to its lineup of fun outdoor sports and activities. There are many private camps that see disc golf as a great educational tool and healthy activity. High schools, elementary schools and even colleges and universities are becoming aware of the benefits of adding disc golf to their curriculum and properties. Irish Waters Golf Club in Freedom has found a new market in winter while Winter Park (ski hill) in Kewaunee offers disc golf during its off-season. Consider Wisconsin’s diverse topography, variety of woodlands, prairies, and parklands and we have a state filled with great disc golf courses.
Wisconsin has 222 courses according to Disc Golf Course Review (DGCR) with 28 of those being on private property and only 36 of which charge for the use of the course or entry into the park. There are also at least 10 more courses currently in some stage of development. There might even be a few more courses in Wisconsin by the time this article gets published. Wisconsin has the third most courses behind only Texas (299) and California (266), two of the most populated states and two of the three largest states in terms of area. Wisconsin has also hosted World Championships in three locations: 1998 Appleton – Amateur, 2007 Milwaukee – Amateur, 2007 Highbridge – Professionals.
Wisconsin is home to the largest complex of courses in the country (six full courses and one that uses a mix of the holes on multiple courses) at Highbridge Hills. I’ve heard the owner is planning to expand his operation even more this season. This complex also boasts two of the top 10 rated courses in the country according to DGCR.
All of Wisconsin’s major cities have several courses to choose from and many small towns and cities have at least a couple disc golf courses within 15-20 miles. The best part about disc golf in Wisconsin is that there are courses for everyone. Check out the map feature at DGCR to see just how close you may be to a course. You can find beginner friendly courses or if you like to just jump right into a new activity, look for the best course in your area and get ready for the challenge. Why not plan a nice relaxing weekend away to Lac du Flambeau to visit the Wisconsin Disc Golf Hall of Fame located at the Sandy Point Resort and Disc Golf Ranch. It has been described as “Disc Golf Heaven.”
Consider this your invitation to come out and enjoy the state of Wisconsin and its plentiful and diverse disc golf courses!
Mike Harrington started The Disc Golf Experience, a company focused on promoting the game of disc golf through sustainable disc golf course design and fun and unique disc golf leagues and tournaments. He has played 550+ courses in 30 states in just over four years since he discovered this sport. Mike currently has a goal to have played all of the courses in Wisconsin by the end of 2013 and has 53 of the 222 courses left in Wisconsin, so why not get out and meet him? Connect with Mike on Facebook at The Disc Golf Experience.