1. PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Southbury Parks & Recreation Department is proposing the installation of a 9-hole disc golf course at Hidden Pond Park. The total cost of the project is estimated to not exceed $5,000.
There are now more than 2000 Disc Golf courses in the United States and Canada, nearly all installed by city and county parks departments. They have found that there are few recreational activities that offer the high benefit-to-cost ratio of disc golf. Disc golf has relatively low capital and maintenance costs compared with other recreational installations, is environmentally sound, is played year-round in all climates and is enjoyed immediately by players of all ability levels and ages.
What Is Disc Golf?
Disc Golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of hitting a ball into a hole, you throw a more streamlined looking Frisbee® disc into a supported metal basket. The goal is the same: to complete the course in the fewest number of shots. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to each basket, which is the "hole." As players progress down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs and terrain changes in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the "putt" lands in the basket and the hole is completed.
Who Can Play?
The simple answer is that everyone can. In studies measuring participation in recreational activities, "throwing a Frisbee" has consistently been a top-ten activity. A disc golf course serves a broader portion of the community than many narrower interest activities with higher cost, skill or fitness levels required to even begin to play. Men and women, young and old, families with small children -- all can play disc golf. Because disc golf is so easy to understand and enjoy, no one is excluded. Players merely match their pace to their capabilities and proceed from there.
How Much Does It Cost To Play?
Many courses are located in city or regional parks where citizens play free. Most private and several public facilities will charge up to $5 per day to play, or earn passive income from annual passes and/or fees to enter the park. The equipment itself is quite inexpensive – discs designed for golf sell for $8-$15 each and only one is needed to get started.
What Kind of Construction Would Be Planned for Hidden Pond?
The construction of a 9 hole disc golf course at Hidden Pond Park would include the installation of tees, signs and baskets. A few branches usually need to be trimmed or removed near a few tees and baskets, especially near eye level range. Each fairway is proposed to be approximately 40 feet wide through the wooded area of the park. Meaning trees up to a maximum of 6 inch diameter breast height (DBH) will be cut to ground level. An average of one tree per hole with a DBH between 6 inch and 15 inch will be removed from each fairway. Exact tree counts are difficult to obtain as typical design for disc golf fairways is best done with consideration to the environment, i.e. what works for the landscape while obtaining playable holes. Slowly designing holes as the course develops is the proper way to design a disc golf course. Baskets could be potentially moved 10-20 feet in a direction to alleviate the need for tree removal. If the course is granted to be installed within the park boundary, further manicuring and finessing over the course will be controlled by the Parks Department.
Tees: Each hole would have one tee, The tees would be made of synthetic turf approximately 4" thick measuring approximately 5' x 12' and would be built essentially flush with the ground. The subgrade will be prepped with crushed stone to give enough of a pitch to ensure drainage of the pad. Tee pad locations will be selected in areas that have minimal ponding potential yet flat enough to not require much leveling. We estimate that a maximum of 9 tees of this size would be required.
Baskets: Each playable hole would have a basket mounted on a pipe that slides inside an anchor pipe that gets cemented into a hole measuring approximately 8" in diameter and 18-24" deep. The basket pipe and anchor pipe each have collar tabs that line up and are securely locked with a padlock. We estimate that approximately 10 anchors holes would be installed. The 10th basket would be a practice basket located near the parking lot.
Signs: Tee signs are very important to help first time users find their way through the course. Each hole would have a sign indicating the number, length, recommended flight path and par. In addition, a rules sign and information board will be installed before the first hole. The signs can be constructed with a variety of materials although we believe it would be preferable to construct signs with a natural appearance to fit in with the surrounding area. Commercial signs designed for disc golf are also available from several sources. This would be derived from potential sponsors that wished to have their name displayed on the small tee sign.
What Maintenance Is Required For a Disc Golf Course at Hidden Pond Park?
After installation, the maintenance needs for a disc golf course are minimal. The targets are made of welded steel anchored in concrete and need no regular maintenance. In the unlikely event that one of the targets is damaged beyond repair or stolen, they can be replaced for around $350.
How Much Land Is Needed?
An 9 hole course would cover approximately playable 18-26 acres, depending on design. The rough rule of thumb for total space needed is about one acre per hole. A significant advantage of disc golf is its ability to utilize areas that are not very desirable or usable for other activities such as woods choked with non-native foliage like buckthorn, rocky areas and slopes. In addition, a disc golf course need not be an exclusive use area -- it can co-exist amicably with the other active and passive recreation uses at Hidden Pond such as hiking, dog-walking, etc. Finally, the relative portability of baskets and signs allows our park department to inexpensively relocate the course to another site should the needs of the park change.
2. COMMUNITY BENEFITS
The installation of a disc golf course in Hidden Pond Park would benefit our community by increasing and enhancing recreational opportunities, park safety and conservation goals.
Recreational Needs: A disc golf course would provide an inexpensive form of recreation for people of all age and skill levels and be a much needed addition to the recreational facilities at Hidden Pond Park. Given the close proximity of Pomperaug High School, the installation of a disc golf course would provide an important recreational resource for the school, as well as for the wider community. A disc golf course would give youth in the neighborhood a healthy and challenging outlet for their energies and would allow our Parks & Recreation Department to organize clinics and youth leagues on their behalf. For the growing number of disc golfers in the state, the presence of a disc golf course in Southbury would obviate the need to travel to play and would give them a base from which to further promote the sport.
Safety: A disc golf course at Hidden Pond Park would increase foot traffic in the Park at unsystematic times during the day and steadily during evenings and weekends. The influx of purposeful patrons would discourage the presence of individuals who are only in the park to cause mischief and perhaps engage in crime. Areas that are infrequently used and considered unsafe would be "opened-up" by the course. National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) studies show the installation of a disc golf course has led to significant decreases in vandalism and litter as users have a stake in keeping the course and surrounding area clean and well-kept.
Conservation: Disc golf can be an environment-friendly sport. Unlike traditional golf, disc golf courses are designed to fit into the existing flora of the park like Hidden Pond. The impact of a disc golf course on the surrounding area is minimal. In addition, disc golfers overall tend to take great pride in where they play, helping reduce potential litter on the course. In the long-term, a disc golf course would also help in the preservation of the park by giving young people in the neighborhood a stake in its preservation and protection.
Economics: A 9 hole disc golf course with tees, professional signs and baskets can be purchased and installed for under $5,000, less than the cost of a single tennis or basketball court. A 9 hole course can serve more than 25 people at any time, compared with a tennis court (4 maximum) or basketball court (10 maximum). The cumulative square footage of 27 x 60 sq. ft hard surface tee pads is also less than either a basketball or tennis court.
The Southbury Parks & Recreation Commission has pledged to fund the entire cost of the disc golf course (up to $5,000). Such funds would be provided by the Parks and Recreation Commission’s Discretionary Fund. This fund is stocked with non-tax generated revenues acquired via a variety of programs operated by the Parks and Recreation Department.