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A Disc Golf Story 20 Years in the Making

Disc Golf Origins
Like so many, I grew up playing traditional sports like soccer, baseball and basketball. At some point in high school a love for frisbee developed. My friends and I would play catch, ultimate and even frisbee golf on made up object courses. I didn’t know that disc golf existed, but I knew that I loved all things frisbee. 

While in Michigan competing in a regional baseball tournament, I came across a disc golf display in a store next to my hotel. I was blown away to find out that this sport called disc golf existed! Naturally, I bought two discs, a Spider and Whippet. My frisbee freak friends and I took to the hotel parking lot to test these new discs. It should come as no shock to hear that we couldn’t throw these discs like our beloved frisbee. I do remember a bit of an “ah hah” moment when someone threw a sidearm that featured a beautiful S curve flight. 

Upon returning home from the tournament, as fate would have it, a 9-hole disc golf course had just been installed! My next month before leaving for college was spent playing disc golf. I knew then, that one way or another, disc golf was going to be a major part of my life.

Following college, I went on to travel the United States & World playing and promoting disc golf. With my touring days behind me, I now work as a DiscGolfPark Course Designer and Discmania USA Sales Manager.

Vicich playing in the 2017 Disc Golf Pro Tour Finals.

Why Redesign a Course?
Safety issues, course expansion, park changes and erosion are just a few of the common reasons why a course may need a redesign. Unfortunately not all courses are able to stand the test of time. Partial or full redesigns are just sometimes necessary. 

In the case of Fox River Park in Ottawa, IL, the footprint of the park drastically changed from when the course was established in 2002. Originally, the course was thoroughly designed through open park space that bordered quiet park roads, stilted houses and the Fox River. It was a really fun 9 hole course! I later came to find out that the course was actually designed by the legendary Course Designer, John Houck. 

Over time, the City of Ottawa purchased and demolished the flood prone houses and eventually eliminated the roads that once dissected the park. The houses that were gone were soon replaced with a number of great park amenities, like a splash pad, pavilion and basketball court. The park had now evolved into a relatively busy multi-use space. These additions were great for the community, but less so for the disc golf course. While the new park features greatly enhanced the park and community, they did negatively impact the original design of the course.


A Long Time Coming
It’s long been a goal of mine to help fix things up at my former hometown course, but something that I was never able to make happen for one reason or another. Then in 2021, local disc golfers approached the City to begin discussions on how to get the course fixed up. A receptive park board approached me and agreed that a complete redesign and upgrade of equipment was needed. In July of 2022, literally 20 years later to the month, the course is now open to play again.

Fox River Park Ribbon Cutting
Ribbon cutting ceremony at Fox River DiscGolfPark - July 2022.

Originally, the course was a standard 9-hole with one tee and one basket per hole. In its new configuration, the course has two cement tees per hole and is outfitted with fresh DiscGolfPark equipment (InfoBoard, TeeSigns, DiscGolfPark Pro Targets). 

We Can Help
If your course needs an equipment update, or like in the case of Fox River, a full redesign - you can reach out to DiscGolfPark for a quote. DiscGolfPark can help take a project from start to finish and leave you with a safe, interesting course that will stand the test of time. Do it right the first time with DiscGolfPark, the world leader in disc golf courses.

Hole 7 at Fox River DiscGolfPark in Ottawa, IL

DiscGolfPark has qualified course designers all over the world. We would love to hear from you and help with your next project, whether it is a new course from scratch, a redesign or equipment upgrades. Reach out here.

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